Mines chamber hopes to convince Duterte not to close open-pit mines
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent pronouncement that he wants to eventually close all open-pit mining operations in the country, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said they will take this opportunity to convince the President to do otherwise.
During a press conference in Taguig, the president said he discussed the possible closures of open-pit mining operations in the country with Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
Executive Director Ronald Recidoro said open-pit mining, if done responsibly and rehabilitated properly, can and should still be allowed.
“We will work closely with the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and MGB (Mines and Geoscience Bureau) to implement mining regulations strictly in all areas of the country, and show that open-pit mines can be operated safely and efficiently,” he said.
The COMP official added that even after operations, open-pit mines can be rehabilitated and transformed into other land uses like agriculture, forestry and eco-tourism.
“Let us just make sure it is done to the best and highest standards,” he said.
Recidoro explained that ore deposits for copper and nickel near the surface of the earth can only be extracted through open-pit mining.
The President’s decision to stop open-pit operations comes after MGB’s proposal to lift the ban on open-pit mining which was put in place by former environment chief Regina Lopez.
A day before the press conference, Lopez held a press conference appealing to the president to keep the ban, describing the move of the MGB as “horrendous beyond words.”
Mr. Duterte said he will give the mining companies enough “elbow room for eventual change in the modality of getting what’s inside the bowels of the earth.” IDL
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.