According to a Reuters’ report, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered mining companies to conduct tree planting projects and threatened to ban all open pit mining next year.
Continuing on from his moratorium on open pit mines that has been in place since April 2017, Duterte has now ordered for mining companies to make “an extra effort to plant trees in areas denuded by mining”.
“I want trees as tall as me in six months. If there is none, consider your permit revoked. Do not wait for the day of your sorrow,” Duterte was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Projects affected by the existing ban include the $5.9bn copper-gold Tampakan project in the southern region of Mindanao island.
A total of 26 mines have either been suspended or shut down since last year due to environmental damages. A review of the suspensions is currently ongoing.
The Philippines is the world’s biggest supplier of nickel ore and also among the top producers of copper and gold. But the sector makes up less than 1% of the country’s economy, based on data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
President Duterte has also issued a warning to mining companies that he might declare a total ban on open pit mining next year.