Review of mining closures to start in February: official

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2018 12:32 PM

MANILA - An inter-agency body will begin this month its review of an order from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources last year to suspend or shut 26 mines, a finance official said Thursday.

The Mining Industry Coordinating Committee hopes to finish its review by June, said Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin.

Teams from the MICC will visit the mining sites to ensure a fair and factual review, he said.

Former Environment Sec. Gina Lopez ordered the suspensions last year, citing violation of safety laws. Lawmakers did not confirm her appointment.

President Rodrigo Duterte warned the industry last year that he would tax them "to death" unless they preserve the environment.

OceanaGold Chairman Joey Leviste said the new DENR secretary, ex-general Roy Cimatu is "more receptive and scientific."

Asked if Secretary Cimatu appeared too supportive of miners, Agabin said the Secretary made it clear that his "inclination is still toward protection of the environment."