Almost 75% of the mining industry in the Philippines has been found wanting after an environmental audit, with 20 mines recommended for suspension unless they can respond to shortcomings within days. If the additional mines recommended for suspension are halted, it would bring to 30 the number closed, 18 of them nickel producers.

Most of the operations found wanting are nickel mines and environment undersecretary Leo Jasareno told reporters at a briefing in Manila that the nickel mines already closed together with those recommended for suspension accounted for 56% of production by value last year.

He said the most common violations were siltation, dust, no tree-cutting permits and unsystematic mining methods.

Leo Jasareno presented the initial findings of the audit with environment secretary Gina Lopez, who said that she plans to meet on Thursday with miners that haven’t passed the test before making a final decision on their status, as well as those who did.

“I want to make it clear, I have no beef against the mining industry but I am against the adverse effects happening in some of the situations,” said Gina Lopez,

adding that those recommended for suspension now needed to get their act together. “I want to be better than Canada, better than Australia.

“At the end of the day, what we want is a mining industry that is much, much more committed to the common good,” she added.

Among those recommended for suspension are: Libjo Mining Corp; AAM-Phil Natural Resources Exploration and Development Corp - Parcel 1 and Parcel 2B; Krominco Inc; Carrascal Nickel Corp; Marcventures Mining and Development Corp‪; Filminera Resources Corp‪; Strongbuilt Mining Development Corp; Sinosteel Philippines HY Mining Corp; Oriental Synergy Mining Corp; Wellex Mining Corp; Century Peak Corp - Rapid City Nickel Project and Casiguran Nickel Project; Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp; CTP Construction and Mining Corp; Agata Mining Ventures Inc; Hinatuan Mining Corp; Benguet Corp; Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co; OceanaGold Phils Inc; Adnama Mining Resources Inc; and SR Metals Inc.

Leo Jasareno said each miner would be handed the audit report and given seven days “to explain their violations”. The agency would review the responses and decide whether to impose the suspension, he said, adding that miners would be able to appeal.

He revealed the 11 mining firms that are not recommended for suspension, but will continue to be monitored: Philex Mining Corp; Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp; Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp; Techiron Resources Inc; Cagdianao Mining Corp; Taganito Mining Corp; Platinum Group Metals Corp; Greenstone Resources Corp; Philsaga Mining Corp; Pacific Nickel Philippines Inc; and Apex Mining Co Inc.

Ronald Recidoro, of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, raised concerns that the audit “was done in a punitive manner rather than objectively”, and questioned the grounds for suspensions. “Some of the grounds that were cited (for violations) were manageable and can be remedied in seven days but the rest are vague.”

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