DENR plans to ban open-pit mining

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 28) — Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said she is banning open-pit mining as the country lacks the technology to keep it safe.

She said damage from open-pit mining becomes a financial liability of the government.

Lopez cited Bagacay mine in Samar, saying the local government spent ₱300 million to keep it clean.

The Environment Secretary met with three mining companies that passed previous audits, saying she is willing to inject at least ₱100 million each to develop green social programs for communities hosting mining activities.

Lopez added she is talking with communists to understand the needs and ensure sustainable and peaceful development of remote mining communities.

"We agree that we will work together for the people... They just want things for the people," Lopez said.

Lopez said the ban will apply to future mining operations.

However, Chamber of Mines vice president for legal and policy Ronald Recidoro said Lopez's move will violate due process as she did not consult stakeholders.

The open-pit mining ban will also prohibit the extraction of coal, limestone, marble and clay.

"If she wants to ban open pit mining she has to amend the mining act and an amendment of the mining act cannot be done by the secretary of Environment unilaterally. She has to go to Congress, she has to lobby and get both houses to pass the amendment, pass a law amending the mining act. That was not done in this case," Recidoro said.

The Commission on Appointments bypassed the nomination of Lopez, but President Duterte reappointed her to the post.

Read: Duterte reappoints bypassed Cabinet secretaries

She will again face the commission on May 2.