DENR to maintain nationwide surface mining ban – Manila Bulletin

The Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has chosen to maintain the national ban on surface mines amid clamor from environmental groups. This was after the government agency attempted to insert a provision into the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Executive Decree 130 that would also lift the moratorium on the controversial mining method.

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A senior DENR source told Business Bulletin that it was Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu who directly ordered the removal of such a provision from the IRR, which took several weeks before it is ultimately approved.

On Thursday morning, Business Bulletin reported that Cimatu had already signed the TRI for EO 130, a copy of which was just obtained on Thursday afternoon. EO 130 amended EO 79 and officially lifted the country’s ban on new mining projects.

On the basis of the four-page IRR, which appeared in the departmental administrative order (DAO) 25 of the DENR, the agency decided to withdraw its previous provision which would lift the entire DAO n ° 2017-10 or the ban on surface mining. mining.

Under DAO 2017-10, which was issued by the late and former DENR secretary, Regina Paz Lopez, surface mines “have turned into perpetual liabilities. [on the part of the government], causing negative impacts on the environment, in particular due to the generation of acidic water and / or water laden with heavy metals, the erosion of mining waste landfills and / or the vulnerability of waste rock dikes to geological hazards “.

“The big reason [for keeping the ban on open-pit mine] is the IRR. We don’t want a lot of people criticizing the TRI just because of this provision. The secretary doesn’t want any trouble that’s why we’ve decided we won’t tackle this [in the IRR]”, added the source.

The source also said that Cimatu may no longer address this issue during this administration. “The secretary no longer wants to lift the ban. Not now. This may be the task of the next administration ”.

Bureau of Mines and Geosciences (MGB) director Wilfredo Moncano said in a text message that AO 25 was released on August 9, 2021. This means the IRR will go into effect in two weeks.

In a statement, the Philippine Chamber of Mines (COMP) said the government’s decision to uphold the ban on surface mines “would negate the spirit of EO 130, as most mining demands propose the use of the open pit mine. method”.

“Thousands of mines around the world have adopted this primary method, including in Australia, Canada and the United States. There are economic, safety and environmental considerations for using this method, ”said COMP, made up of some of the largest mining companies in the country.

“When underground mining cannot be applied, the surface method is mainly used, although there are other forms of surface mining. The nature of the shape and location of the orebody determine the method of extraction, ”he added.


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