The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has ordered the shutdown of 21 mining firms after six months of industry – wide audit.
The suspended firms were mainly nickel producer that accounts for about half of the country’s annual output, DENR secretary Regina Lopez said in a report by Reuters.
“We have also decided to close down any mining operation in functional watersheds. The DENR has rightfully decided to take on social justice. I am not against mining but I am against suffering,” Lopez said.
Among the 21 firms closed are Oriental Vision Mining Philippines, Libjo Mining, Wellex Mining, Oriental Synergy Mining, Sinosteel Philippines HY Mining Corp., Krominco, AAMPhil Natural Resources Exploration and Development Corp., LNL Archipelago Minerals, Eramen Minerals Inc., and Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines.
“If there are businesses and foreigners that go and utilize the resources of the area for their benefit and the people suffer then that’s social injustice,” the secretary added.
Adnama Mining Resources, Claver Mineral Development, Platinum Development Corp., CTP Construction and Mining, Carrascal Nickel Mining, Marcventures Mining and Development Corp.; and Hinatuan Mining are the Surigao del Norte based mining firms that were shut down by the DENR.
DENR also ordered the suspension of Hinatuan Mining Corp.’s Manicani mine, Strong Built Mining Development, Ore Asia Mining, Lepanto Consolidated Mining, and Berong Nickel Corp. OceanaGold Philippines.
“There are also unresolved agricultural issues, leakage of mine tailings, environmental violation, and saltations. They need to fix their system and address the complaints of residents,” Lopez said.
“Why is mining more important than people’s lives?” she asked.
The firms were given 15 days to appeal their case to the DENR.
Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said that the companies listed would take legal action, filing a motion for reconsideration.
“The audit process was clearly flawed,” Ronald Recidoro told Reuters in a report, adding that the Chamber initially opposed anti – mining group’s inclusion in the audit teams.
The audit focused on safety and health, mine environmental management, social development, mining tenement, the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, hazardous and solid wastes.
Among the mining firms that passed the audit include Philex Mining Corp., Rio Tuba Nickel Corp of the Nickel Asia Corp., Cagdianao Mining, Taganito Mining, Carmen Copper Corp, Greenstone Resources, Apex Mining, Pacific Nickel Philippines, Agata Mining Ventures, Philgasa Mining, Century Peak Metals Holdings, and SR Metals.