“There is a department order on the ban on open-pit mining issued by Secretary (Regina Paz L.) Lopez,” Roy A. Cimatu, secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said in a briefing yesterday.
“It still stays.”
Mr. Cimatu, a former general, was appointed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in May after the latter’s previous choice, Ms. Lopez, failed to secure congressional confirmation after a drive to implement radical environment protection measures that raised mining industry hackles.
Staunch environmentalist Ms. Lopez led a 10-month campaign to rein in the mining industry, ordering early in February the closure or suspension of 28 of 41 operational mines in the world’s top nickel ore supplier and imposing a ban on open-pit mining.
Later that month, she also cracked down on 75 other projects in pre-production stage, triggering concern in the wider business community and prompting Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III to convene the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), which he co-chairs with the Environment chief.