MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday stressed anew that he fully supports Environment Secretary Gina Lopez following the latter’s decision to suspend and close operations of several mines.
“I’ve read on newspapers that Secretary Ginal Lopez cancelled about 7 of big mining firms in the country. I support her and there was never a time that I called her to slow down a little bit,” Duterte said. "She is passionate not about the mining laws but the little men on the land, tilling.”
Lopez said Thursday she was suspending and closing operations of several mines following an industry-wide crackdown on violators of safety standards. Of the 41 mines audited, only 13 passed while 21 are for closure, six for suspension, and one was deferred.
The operation of Filminera Resources Corporation in Masbate was deferred. As of posting, Lopez said she was suspending the environment certificates of the following mining operations: - OceanaGold Phils in Nueva Vizcaya; - Lepanto Consolidated Mining in Benguet;
- CitiNickel Mines and Development Corporation in Narra, Palawan;
- Berong Nickel Corp. in Quezon, Palawan, and Ore Asia Mining;
- Development Corporation in Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan; and
- Strong Built Mining Development Corporation.
Lopez has also ordered four mining operations in Zambales closed, citing their negative effect on watersheds. They are as follows:
- BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Inc.,
- Eramen Minerals Inc.,
- Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation, and
- LNL Archipelago Mining Corp.
Three mining operations in Homonhon Island in Samar are also ordered closed:
- Mt Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corp.,
- Emir Minerals Corp., and
- Techiron Mineral Resources Inc.
The following mines in Dinagat Islands were ordered closed:
- Aam-Phil Natural Resources Exploration and Development Corporation,
- Krominco Inc., - SinoSteel Philippines H.Y. Mining Corporation,
- Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation, - Wellex Mining Corporation,
- Libijo Mining Corporation, and
- Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp.
In Surigao del Norte, the closure of these mines was also ordered:
- ADNAMA Mining Resources Corporation,
- Claver Mineral Development Corp., - Platinum Development Corp.,
- CTP Construction and Mining Corp.,
- Carrascal Nickel Corporation,
- Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation, and
- Hinatuan Mining Corporation.
Lopez, an environment campaigner before she assumed a government post, has also opposed plans by US network Nickelodeon to build a theme park in Palawan if it will destroy corals in the area.
She also investigated an ash alleged spill in Bataan province that caused people living near a San Miguel Corp. power plant and a Petron Corp. oil refinery to fall ill.