Panel to review open pit mining ban

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A technical panel under the multi-stakeholder Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has been tasked to study the possible lifting of a ban on open pit mining.

“[The] MICC tasked the technical working group on economic affairs and on environment to again study whether open pit mining should be allowed or not,” Finance Undersecretary and MICC member Bayani Agabin told reporters.

The Finance official said the review was line with statements made by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“He just wants that any damage that you caused, you have to fix,” Agabin said.


Former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez earlier this year issued DENR Administrative Order 2017-10 banning all prospective open pit mines, a decision upheld last month by her successor, Roy Cimatu.

Cimatu said he was in no rush to overturn directives issued by Lopez, who was rejected by the Commission on Appointments over her stringent anti-mining stance.

Agabin, who previously criticized Lopez’s decisions when she was still in office, said: “Worldwide, around 85 percent of the mines engage in open pit mine. The issue there is can you manage it.”

Results of the study will be forwarded to Cimatu and Duterte, he added.

“In their discretion, if they believe that the study is well-based, then they can either adopt, reject, or modify whatever is going to be submitted,” Agabin said.

“It still depends [on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources]. DENR is the implementing arm of the Mining Act. MICC is more advisory but the beauty about MICC is it’s multi-sectoral. All viewpoints can be considered.”

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