DENR toughens rules on lifting surface mining ban – Manila bulletin

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is proposing a stricter Ministerial Administrative Order (DAO) that will lift the ban on surface mining to allay potential environmental concerns that will be raised against the publication of the controversial policy.

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In a telephone interview, Under Secretary of the Environment for Law Enforcement, Mining and Muslim Affairs Jim Sampulna told the Business Bulletin that Secretary of the Environment Roy Cimatu had ordered the revision of the DAO on the lifting of surface mining.

In October, Business Bulletin reported that the DENR reversed its earlier decision to uphold the ban on the surface mining method believed to appease environmental groups, and proceeded to draft the DAO.

The DAO notably sought to repeal the ban on surface mines that the former and late Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez put in place in 2017.

In the DAO, the DENR said that maintaining the ban on surface mining “could result in lost economic opportunities.”

He further stated that “the surface mining method is a globally accepted mining method considered the most feasible option for mining shallow or shallow ore deposits.”

However, Sampulna said Cimatu decided to send the draft DAO back to its office for review and tighten its provisions.

“The secretary wants tighter regulation and enforcement of policy. He wants to ensure that the surface mining method, when authorized, is accident-free and will ensure the safety of the environment, ”Sampulna said.

Sampulna said the agency has finished writing the updated draft of the DAO, which is currently being reviewed by other DENR under-secretaries.

He also mentioned that it was the mining companies that directly put pressure on the DENR to finally lift the ban on surface mining.

In October, after learning about the first draft of the DAO, the national coordinator of the Green Thumb Coalition and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Jaybee Garganera, immediately rejected the decision, saying that such a political decision was a radical reversal. prevention of deforestation and protection of the remaining key area for biodiversity ”.

Garganera then called on President Rodrigo Duterte to order Cimatu not to sign any administrative orders lifting the ban on surface mining.

“It is easy to understand that the huge Chinese demand for our minerals is steering this policy towards aggressively promoting mining, even in times of pandemic,” Garganera said.

When asked for a reaction in October, the Philippine Chamber of Mines (COMP), an organization of some of the country’s largest mining operations, declined to comment on the latest DENR DAO, saying it did not wouldn’t say anything. until it is signed.

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