The Philippines will suspend more than 10 more mines in an ongoing environmental crackdown but the announcement of which mines are involved has been moved to September 26.

The world’s top supplier of nickel has already halted the operations of 10 mines, eight of them nickel producers, for environmental lapses since it launched an audit on July 8.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez said this week that more than 10 additional mines would definitely be suspended because of many violations.

Meantime, the audit has found that an expansion project of coal producer Semirara Mining and Power Corp is ‘technically sound’.

Semirara, the country’s only large-scale coal producer, and dozens of other miners, underwent an audit as the government sought to put an end to irresponsible mining.

Last month, Regina Lopez said her agency had asked Semirara to explain environmental violations at its mines in central Philippines, including siltation of nearby waters and air pollution.

In a filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange this week, Semirara said it received copies of the reports of the audit on its Molave expansion project from a regional unit of the Environmental Management Bureau.

“The project is found to be technically sound considering that all aspects have been considered such as slope stability analysis,” said the reports.

“Although there were complaints received regarding the operation of the mining project, it is recommended that a dialogue with the complainants be undertaken.”

Regina Lopez had said it would be hard to just shut Semirara’s operations because that might lead to power outages given the Philippines' heavy reliance on coal-fired generators.


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