Gov't won't lift abn on open-pit mining
It is now the job of mining companies to look for an alternative to open-pit mining method as ordered by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu — who, for the nth time, said the government is not keen to lift the ban on the destructive method.
"We have to reinvent mining in the Philippines or we will shut you down by the end of the year," Cimatu told mining companies during the Philippine Mining Club Luncheon in Makati yesterday.
During the meeting, Cimatu said miners should prepare for a scenario where there is no longer open-pit mining in the country.
"We will discuss what will be the alternative to this mining method," Cimatu said.
"I'm asking you to form a working group to find out what's the alternative to open-pit mining and you should be prepared to present this," he added.
Before flying to China in April, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would extend the ban on open-pit mine if mining firms will fail to conduct progressive rehabilitation and plant trees.
To recall, it was former Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez who placed the ban on the use of the open-pit mining method for the extraction of copper, gold, silver and complex ores in the country.
Even if he has the power to repeal the order himself, Cimatu said it's now up to the President whether he will keep the order or not. Open-pit mining is an internationally accepted method for mining where you extract minerals from the surface.
Passed into law in 1995, the Philippine Mining Act, the main legislation that governs all mining operations in the country, currently allows open-pit mining.
Former Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) director Leo Jasareno, however, said before that the law is actually "silent in terms of the mining method that can be used."
Cimatu said that moving forward, miners should adopt new technology to maximize mineral ore utilization and environment protection
Meanwhile, mining companies which will fail to comply with a soon-to-be released Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) order on Progressive Rehabilitation may face permanent disqualification to acquire and take hold of mining permits.
During the luncheon, Cimatu presented new MGB proposed regulations, which provide guidelines for additional environmental measures for operating surface metallic mines and the setting of the maximum disturbed area for nickel mines.