Angry Philippine islanders are trying to stop the great nickel rush – Nick Aspinwall (Rest of – August 30, 2023)

“It’s very ironic that, in order to mitigate the impact of global warming, you have to cut down our trees … just to support the initiatives of Elon Musk.”

The small, crescent-shaped island of Sibuyan sits at the dead center of the Philippine archipelago. Venturing there from Manila is a 15-hour journey by bus and ferry, which keeps most vacationers away from its glistening sandbars and unspoiled old-growth forests.

The water from all its 36 rivers and streams is drinkable, locals say; it has never been connected to any other landmass, preserving unique plant and animal life. Natural scientists have called it the “Galapagos of Asia.”

But Sibuyan’s isolation hasn’t kept everyone at bay. It’s also home to an estimated seven million metric tons of nickel reserves, locked in the ground below the verdant Mount Guiting-Guiting in San Fernando municipality.

The ore was the basis of a clash that went viral this February, when a weekslong protest by a crowd of villagers exploded into conflict. At the base of the mountain, villagers spread tarpaulins and erected tents and bamboo huts, facing off against trucks belonging to Altai Philippines Mining Corporation.

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