“We have to reinvent mining in the Philippines or we will shut you down by the end of the year,” he said during the Philippine Mining Club Luncheon in Makati yesterday.
Boy Santos
DENR chief to open pit miners: Shift methods or face shutdown
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Open pit mining companies are in danger of being shut down unless they shift to acceptable alternative methods by the end of the year, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

“We have to reinvent mining in the Philippines or we will shut you down by the end of the year,” he said during the Philippine Mining Club Luncheon in Makati yesterday.

President Duterte earlier hinted of banning open pit mining in the country, citing its destructive effect on the environment.

Cimatu urged mining companies involved in open pit operations to form a working group to craft alternative methods they can use for their operations.

“We will discuss what will be the alternative to this mining method. I’m asking you to form a working group to find out what’s the alternative to open pit mining and you should be prepared to present this,” he said.

In addition, Cimatu said miners should adopt new technology to maximize mineral ore utilization and environment protection.

Former environment secretary Gina Lopez had put a stop to the use of the open pit mining method for the extraction of copper, gold, silver and complex ores in the country.

Cimatu, even if he has the power to repeal the order himself, said “it’s now up to the President whether he will keep the order or not.”

“Despite the revenues (we get) from mining operations, the government must compromise to prevent further degradation of the environment. We have to limit the destruction to the environment,” he said.

In the same luncheon, Cimatu presented new Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) proposed regulations, which provide guidelines for additional environmental measures for operating surface metallic mines and the setting of the maximum disturbed area for nickel mines. 

Under the guidelines, a miner producing one million metric tons (MT) or less can only operate within 50 hectares of the mine sites, while those producing around one million to three million MT are only allowed to operate within 60 hectares of their tenements.

Those producing three million to five million MT, on the other hand, can only excavate within 70 hectares of their contract areas.

Moreover, the MGB also drafted a new set of guidelines on the evaluation and approval of the three-year development, construction and utilization work program.

The guidelines provide for a new template to incorporate re-vegetation and progressive rehabilitation during mining operation.

It also provides for 60-day transitory period to allow contractors with pending, expired and previously approved three-year development /utilization work program to submit a proposed or revised program.

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