MANILA – The Philippine Senate has rejected the appointment of President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial pick for environment secretary, the heiress-turned-missionary and activist Regina Lopez.
Ms Lopez had shuttered dozens of mines for a variety of infractions, driving nickel prices to a year high.
The Philippines is the world’s top supplier of nickel ore and main supplier to China, the biggest market for the industrial metal.
Congressional confirmations in the Philippines typically happen only months after ministers start work. Lopez was appointed by Duterte on June 30 last year.
At the confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Lopez struggled to defend the legal basis for requiring nickel miners that remove their ore stockpiles to set aside an additional 2 million pesos (US$39,948) per hectare of disturbed land on top of funds already set aside to repair environmental damage, only saying that she wanted to help farmers in those areas, reported Reuters.