MGB mulls lifting of ban on open-pit mining


Posted at Aug 30 2017 08:35 PM

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is considering lifting the ban on open-pit mining.

Atty. Wilfredo Moncano said MGB has submitted a proposal to lift the existing ban on open-pit mining.

"We have made a proposal to lift the ban on open-pit mining," he told lawmakers during the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)'s budget hearing Tuesday.

Another official from MGB also previously questioned the merit of the ban on open-pit mining.

Larry Heradez, chief of the MGB's legal division, said the ban has no legal basis.

"In the Philippines ... surface mining or 'open-pit' is technically and financially feasible," Heradez said.

Heradez is part of a team that is reviewing the policy orders of Gina Lopez, the former environment secretary whose appointment was not approved by lawmakers.

In July, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said he would not lift a ban on open-pit mining imposed in April in an anti-pollution crackdown.

Cimatu, a former general, was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in May after Lopez failed to secure congressional confirmation after a drive to implement radical environment protection measures that raised mining industry hackles.

"There is a department order on the ban on open-pit mining issued by Secretary Lopez," Cimatu has said. "It still stays."