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Mining project thwarted.

LONDON * Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton has pulled out of a nicket-mining project in the Philippines following a campaign by the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, the English member of Caritas International.

BHP Billiton sold its 40 percent stake in the $22.7 billion project to its local joint-venture partner, Asiaticus Management Corp.

Asiaticus has said it wants to start mining immediately, but the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, which is better know by its acronym, CAFOD, is calling for a new consent process before work starts at the mine in Macambol, Davao Oriental province. CAFOD's extractives policy analyst, Sonya Maldar, said the current consent process has "serious flaws."

Launching its campaign in 2008, CAFOD claimed that local people were kept in the dark about the project, which, it said, could lead to soil erosion, landslides, flash floods and pollution that could affect the livelihoods of 65,000 people.

The site is close to two designated areas of outstanding natural beauty, the Hamiguitan mountains and Pujada Bay. More than 6,000 cards, e-mails and protest letters were sent to BHP Billiton.

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Title Annotation:WORLD BRIEFS
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 22, 2010
Words:181
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