MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced it has completed the audit of mines in the country, with Secretary Gina Lopez vowing to “definitely” suspend more mining operations, including large-scale ones.
The new suspensions will be announced next week, Lopez told reporters on the sidelines of her department’s budget hearing at the House of Representatives on Monday, September 5.
DENR’s proposed budget for 2017 is P28.67 billion ($615.97 million)*.
“The audit is done, and then you have to give a show cause [order], and then [they] answer, and then you validate, and then you decide,” Lopez said, explaining the process.
She added: “But the reasons [for the suspension] are all technical, and it’s backed by scientific data.”
To date, the DENR has already suspended the mining operations of 10 firms:
- BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Incorporated
- Eramen Minerals Incorporated
- LNL Archipelago Minerals Incorporated
- Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation
- Berong Nickel
- Claver Minerals
- Ore Asia Mining Development Corporation
- Mt Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corporation
- Emir Mineral Resources Corporation
Amid the suspensions, Lopez has given her commitment to help these mine sites grow economically.
“We’ve…put up an area development program specific to the mine sites…and the commitment is in any suspended mine site, the people there will not lose their livelihood, they will continue to be able to support their families,” she explained.
In Zambales, for example, she said her department is working with the mining companies to rehabilitate the mine sites.
The department is specifically using biochar, which Lopez said will “stimulate the entire economy of Sta Cruz.”
“Right now, biochar – the use of biomass – is for me a very good way to go because it’s had effects, it’s not expensive. It’s just using biomass – rice husks, corn, coconut husks – and you use that, you convert that to biochar, and that’s what’s used to rehabilitate mine sites,” she added. – Rappler.com
*US$1 = P46.54
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