Apr. 27, 2017: Philippine bans open-pit mining as minister toughens crackdown

Apr. 27, 2017: Philippine bans open-pit mining as minister toughens crackdown
 

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine Environment Secretary Regina Lopez said on Thursday she will ban open-pit mining in the country, toughening a months-long crackdown on the sector she blames for extensive environmental damage.

The ban comes just days before the outspoken environmentalist-turned-regulator faces a confirmation hearing in Congress that could lead to her removal as minister after a storm of complaints from pro-mining groups.

Lopez, who has already ordered the closure of more than half the country’s operating mines and has previously described open pit mines as “madness”, said it was within her prerogative to ban the practice, which is allowed under Philippines mining law.

“Each open pit is a financial liability for government for life,” she told a media briefing. “It kills the economic potential of the place.”

The ban will take effect immediately but will not cover existing mines, she said.

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