Duterte administration to lift surface mining ban – Manila Bulletin

The Duterte administration is set to reverse its earlier decision on whether to uphold the ban on the surface mining method that is supposed to appease environmental groups.

On Wednesday, October 27, Business Bulletin obtained a draft administrative order (DAO) from the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) aimed at repealing the ban on surface mines that the former and late secretary to the ‘Environment, Regina Paz Lopez, had set up in 2017.

The four-page draft DAO is entitled “Lifting of the ban on the open pit mining method of copper, gold, silver and complex ore in the country under the administrative order of the DENR No. 2017-10, and providing for additional improved parameters and criteria for surface mining methods ”.

According to the DAO 2017-10, surface mines “have turned into perpetual liabilities [for 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 records show that most of the mining disasters in the country were due to tailings spills associated with surface mining,” he added.

But in the latest DAO, which is now awaiting the signature of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, the DENR said the continued 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.”

“Revitalize the mining industry and bring significant economic benefits to the country by providing raw materials for construction and development of other industries and increasing employment opportunities in rural areas where there is mining activity, stimulating thus the development of campaigns, “said the DAO.

“There are best practice control strategies and technologies that can help avoid or manage the negative impacts of surface mining,” he added.

When asked for a reaction, the national coordinator of the Green Thumb Coalition and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Jaybee Garganera, said environmental groups “reject this decision by the DENR to lift the ban on mining at open sky “.

“Cimatu should not sign this DAO, especially in light of the upcoming CoP26 climate summit. Such a political decision is a drastic reversal of the prevention of deforestation and the protection of the remaining key biodiversity areas, ”Garganera said.

“We also ask President Rodrigo Duterte to categorically order DENR Secretary Cimatu not to sign any administrative order lifting the ban on surface mining,” he added.

Nonetheless, he said, he won’t be surprised if Duterte remains silent or even in favor of such a move.

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

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, until it is signed.

In August, the DENR chose to maintain the nation’s ban on surface mines amid clamor from environmental groups.

This was after the government agency attempted to insert a provision into the Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Executive Decree 130, the decree that lifted the ban on new mining projects.

A senior DENR source previously told Business Bulletin that it was Cimatu who directly ordered the removal of such a provision from the IRR.

On the basis of the four-page IRR, which was in DENR DAO 25, the agency decided to withdraw its previous provision which would lift the entire DAO 2017-10 or the ban on exploitation. open air.



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