Duterte firm on open pit ban

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte reiterated there would be no open pit mining in his administration as the government continues to move toward responsible extraction of minerals in the country.

During the 31st anniversary celebration of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Duterte said the ban on the open pit method would remain in force.

“The mining people know that I will really put a stop to it. Maybe they will try to revive it at some other time, but I just have to do what I can during my time,” Duterte said.

While mining is contributing approximately P70 billion in revenues, Duterte argued the government could recover that from intensified collection efforts from the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs.

“I told Roy (Cimatu) that there has to be a time to decide. Open pit mining is destroying the land, we are losing the soil, then we have landslides,” he said.

Cimatu, for his part, said mining companies have to reinvent themselves and find a way to extract minerals without using the open pit method.

“We will find a way because that is the instruction. There are other ways for as long as it does not destroy the environment,” he said.

Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. is moving towards full underground operations for its $2-billion Silangan copper and gold project, as the government remains firm in its position not to reverse the ban.



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