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DOF backs lifting of open-pit mining ban

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
DOF backs lifting of open-pit mining ban
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez yesterday said the DOF supports the lifting of the four-year ban on open-pit mining issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through Department Administrative Order 2021-40.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) supports the government’s decision to lift the ban on open-pit mining, saying that the resumption of the industry would generate jobs and revenues needed to recover from the pandemic.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez yesterday said the DOF supports the lifting of the four-year ban on open-pit mining issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through Department Administrative Order 2021-40.

Dominguez said Republic Act 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, provides no prohibition on open-pit mining, but requires the DENR to assess economic, environment and safety factors in employing such method.

“As co-chair of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council, I support DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu’s decision to lift the ban on open-pit mining. The matter was extensively discussed in the MICC and, with the advice and guidance from experts, the recommendation was to lift the ban,” Dominguez said.

“Adequate safeguards can be implemented to ensure the safety of this mining method. Strict monitoring and enforcement to ensure compliance with environmental standards shall be undertaken to prevent any abuse in the implementation of this type of mining activity,” he said.

Dominguez also said the government needs additional job creation and revenue collection that the open-pit miners can give once they resume their operations.

Based on data from the DENR, at least 11 pending projects on open-pit mining can be pursued in the immediate and can infuse about P11 billion worth of revenues to state resources.

Further, the open-pit mining projects can increase annual exports by around P36 billion, as well as provide employment to roughly 22,880 locals living nearby the mine sites.

As such, the finance chief said the lifting of the ban can contribute in the government’s efforts to recover from the pandemic. However, he asked authorities to make sure they carry out strategies which can avoid the negative effects of open-pit mining.

“More importantly, the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining will help revitalize the economy as we begin to recover from the pandemic by generating additional revenues, royalty fees, export value and even more jobs in related industries,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez, who sits as the President’s representative to the Climate Change Commission, said the government would monitor the mining sector’s activities to see how they impact the country’s measures in bringing down its carbon footprint.

“The protection of the environment is non-negotiable. We have to strike a careful balance between preserving and protecting the environment and pursuing our economic develop.

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