February 18, 2018, 7:17 am
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As open pit mine ban stays, miners told to find other ways

By JOJO MONTEMAYOR

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night rejected the recommendation of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) to lift the ban on open-pit mining.

The President, in a media interview, again cited the destruction of the environment resulting from some mining operations and the lack of immediate corrective measures from mining firms.

“I don’t’ like it because it is destroying the --- the soil, the environment, and no immediate corrective measures. I don’t mind if I see the scraped area when I go back there to visit the place and I could see a lot of trees growing and the environment corrected of its destruction,” he said when asked about the MICC recommendations.

Duterte said he does not mind losing the billions worth of taxes from the mining industry, which he estimates at P70 billion a year.

“I can let it go. So what if we don’t have that?,” he said,  adding that he is not concerned about closing down some mining firms that  fail to adopt corrective measures to protect environment.

Open pit mining was banned by former Environment Secretary Regina Lopez due to environmental degradation which Duterte had earlier said he supported.

The President, however, said  he is willing to give the mining firms a chance to find alternative ways to extract minerals and come up with corrective measures.

The inter-agency MICC last month asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to lift the ban which Secretary Roy Cimatu supported. The open pit mining ban covers only affect new projects.
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