DOF backs lifting of open-pit mining ban

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 30 2021 12:41 PM

A view of nickel ore stockpiles at a port in Sta. Cruz, Zambales in northern Philippines February 8, 2017. Erik De Castro, Reuters/File

A view of nickel ore stockpiles at a port in Sta. Cruz, Zambales in northern Philippines February 8, 2017. Erik De Castro, Reuters/File

MANILA - The Department of Finance said Thursday it supports the lifting of the ban on open-mining as this would enable the industry to become a key contributor to economic recovery.

It can also lead to the development of 11 pending projects that are expected to generate about P11 billion combined in yearly government revenues, increase annual exports by P36 billion, and provide jobs to 22,880 people, the DOF said in a statement. 

The decision was also "extensively discussed" with advice from experts, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said. 

“As co-chair of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), I support DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu's decision to lift the ban on open-pit mining... Clearly, it will revive an industry that will create jobs and spur economic growth in the countryside,” Dominguez said. 

Open-pit mining is a globally accepted method and most feasible option for mining near-surface deposits, the official said.
 
Dominguez said the DENR is fully capable of regulating mining operations in the country "with due regard to the protection of the environment."

Issues concerning mining operations can be prevented through strict monitoring and regulation, he added.

"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,” Domniguez said. 

The finance chief, however, noted that there should be a balance between pursuing economic development and protecting the environment.

On Dec. 28, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu issued an order lifting a nationwide ban on open-pit mining, which was imposed by the late former environment chief Gina Lopez. 

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