Duterte Environment Chief Decries Mining’s ‘Pathetic’ Record – by Clarissa Batino and Siegfrid Alegado (Bloomberg News – June 22, 2016)


“Any kind of mining here puts our farmers and fishermen at risk; for
whom, for what, is this worth it?” Lopez asked. “We’ve been doing it
for a hundred years and usually, you do something and you know if
it’s good by track record. Well, mining has a pathetic track record.
Wherever there’s mining the people are poor.”

The Philippines will have an anti-mining crusader running the environment department, after Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s choice accepted the post this week. Shares of resources companies plunged a second day.

Regina “Gina” Lopez, 61, managing director of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc., said Tuesday that she accepts the offer to head the environment and natural resources department. The Philippine stock exchange’s mining and oil index fell 7.3 percent on Wednesday, the steepest drop in 10 months, after closing 4.1 percent lower in the previous session. Duterte offered the post to Lopez on Monday.

Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. tumbled 6.8 percent and Philex Mining Corp. lost 11 percent, while Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. was down 6.5 percent and Semirara Mining and Power Corp. slid 7.9 percent at the session’s close.

Nickel Asia Corp., the nation’s largest producer in which Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. holds a 26 percent stake, dropped 4.6 percent. The broader Philippine Stock Exchange PSEi Index was little changed.

“The reason why I don’t like mining is: the poor suffer so that the foreigners and already very rich people benefit,” Lopez told the ABS-CBN News Channel late Tuesday. Small miners, big resource companies and coal plants harm the environment, endanger the livelihood of farmers and fishermen and are potential health hazards, she said.

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