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Ban on open pit mines stay

By: Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has remained firm not to lift a ban on prospective open pit mines to ensure that the environment will not suffer from further degradation due to irresponsible mining activities.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu reaffirmed an administrative order issued last April by ex-Secretary Gina Lopez that “bans the open pit method of mining for copper, gold, silver and complex orders in the country.”

Lopez earlier pointed out that “mining disasters in the country were due to tailings associated with open pit mining.”

Cimatu also reiterated that no mining activities are allowed in watershed areas.

Meanwhile, Cimatu deferred the release of the results of a mining audit that reviews the appeals for reconsideration of 26 suspended mining firms.

“The documents given by mining companies are very voluminous. These are sets of requests for reconsideration. The Office of the President requested the DENR reviewing group to review the appeals of the mining companies. The task at hand is being divided,” Cimatu explained.