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23 Mining operations closed in the Philippines

The new environment secretary of the Philippines Regina Lopez is serious on her promise last year to follow a policy path to ensure responsible and sustainable mining for the country and in particular protect the communities affected by mining operations. Last Thursday Mrs. Lopez announced an order for the closure of 23 mines, mainly for ruining watershed areas and “indiscriminate mining.” “It is time for social justice she shared because you cannot run your business and affect our farmers and fishermen. This is not acceptable under the President Duterte administration and not acceptable under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Following the announcement mining industry’s disruption that involved some firms related to several publicly listed companies, the mining and oil index fell by 1.65 percent on Thursday.

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Comment by Andrew Whitmore on February 15, 2017 at 10:19

I certainly hope so, and the further news you mention appears impressive. (Things are moving so fast it is difficult to keep on top of news!). I'm not in Philippines at moment so I'm not close to events, but suspect there will be plenty of political machinations to come. (The blocking of her official confirmation is a worry). After many years of working in support of communities in the Philippines I have faith in their ability to assert their rights in difficult, often deadly, circumstances. Indeed, I would argue it has led to many major mining multinationals leaving what would have ended up as bad projects (from Rio Tinto to Glencore). However, personally I have little or no faith in the political classes, even where there is someone involved who clearly has goodwill & the interests of the environment and mines-affected communities like Gina Lopez.

Comment by Daan Boom on February 15, 2017 at 1:12

Thanks Andrew, great you have added a link to press clippings. It really creates value. Indeed, the question is what next but momentum in favour of Lopez directive is growing is my feeling. With such a massive directive of closing 23 mines, the mining companies would not stay idle and start a massive communication campaign and engage with representatives from the senate, local governments to do whatever they can to prevent closure. Yesterday, it was btw announced that another 70 mines, operating in watershed areas will also face closure. At some point we will provide the members an update on the closure.

Comment by Andrew Whitmore on February 14, 2017 at 10:20

Thanks Daan - a good summary, but I think the key question/story is more what will happen now. After all it is not the first time suspensions or closures have been announced and - on the whole - little has changed in practice. I written a short introduction to a summary of articles on the subject on the Mines & Communities website - http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=13590

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