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Palace lifts Lepanto mining suspension

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the President (OP) has lifted the eight-month suspension order against Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co.

In a regulatory filing, Lepanto said it received the decision dated Oct. 12, which lifted the suspension order issued  by former environment secretary Gina Lopez in February.

Lepanto was among the five companies ordered suspended by the Department of Environment Natural Resources in an intensified crackdown on illegal mining.

Industry sources said the OP may release its decision on the rest of the appeals this week.

In exchange for the lifting of the suspension order, Lepanto was given six months to implement appropriate mitigating measures and ordered to pay fines of P27,275 to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and P100,000 to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

The MGB and EMB are also directed to conduct a monthly inspection on Lepanto’s compliance with the directives and submit a monthly report to the OP regarding the progress of the corrective measures.

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The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) welcomed OP’s favorable response to one of its members, saying the suspension order issued by Lopez had really no basis.

“This sends a positive signal that the government is starting to act on these pending matters which have largely caused uncertainties in the industry,” COMP executive director Ronald Recidoro told The STAR.

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