The Philippine minister in charge of mining said she will not allow the $5.9 billion Tampakan gold and copper mine in southern Mindanao island to operate as an open-pit site and vowed to shut more operations causing environmental destruction.
The Tampakan project is the biggest stalled mining venture in the Southeast Asian country, failing to take off after the province where it is located banned open-pit mining in 2010. Commodities giant Glencore Plc quit the project last year.
“I will not allow the Tampakan project,” Regina Lopez told reporters, as long as it is planned as an open-pit mine. She said all permits given to the project will be reviewed “but we will observe due process”. Officials at Sagittarius Mines Inc, owned by local investor Alcantara Group, which has control of Tampakan, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A staunch environmentalist, Lopez said the government has suspended operations of seven domestic mines for failure to meet environmental regulations.
Lopez began an audit of all Philippine mines on July 8 as the new government led by President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to shut operations causing environmental harm.
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