A Canadian mining company is taking extreme measures to open up indigenous lands in the Philippines to development, according to a mining watchdog group.

TVI Pacific Inc. is using a 150-strong private army to harass and intimidate the indigenous Subanen people, who oppose the mining, says MiningWatch Canada.

The private army is made up of exmilitary officers armed and trained by the Philippine military, but paid by TVI. They are heavily armed with machine guns and a 105 mm howitzer field gun.

The Subanen say one man has been shot by the security force, while others face violence, illegal detention and food blockades. The indigenous people formed a human barricade to stop entry of mining equipment this month. They were beaten by rattan sticks, tied up, kicked and handcuffed during three hours of violence, says the British group Sruvival for Tribal Peoples.

The Subanen filed an indigenous land claim in 1992, but now they say it has been blocked.