Philippine Mining Capitalism: The Changing Terrains of Struggle in the Neoliberal Mining Regime

Alvin Almendrala Camba


This article analyzes how the mining sector and anti-mining groups compete for mining outcomes in the Philippines. I argue that the transition to a neoliberal mineral regime has empowered the mining sector and weakened the mining groups by shifting the terrains of struggle onto the domains of state agencies and scientific networks. Since the neoliberal era, the mining sector has come up with two strategies. First, technologies of subjection elevate various public institutions to elect and select the processes aimed at making mining accountable and sensitive to the demands of local communities. However, they often refuse or lack the capacity to intervene effectively. Second, technologies of subjectivities allow a selective group of industry experts to single-handedly determine the environmental viability of mining projects. Mining consultants, specialists, and scientists chosen by mining companies determine the potential environmental damage on water bodies, air pollution, and soil erosion. Because of the mining capital’s access to economic and legal resources, anti-mining communities across the Philippines have been forced to compete on an unequal terrain for a meaningful social dialogue and mining outcomes.


Mining; Philippines; Political Economy of Development; Protest Politics; Resource Conflicts

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