The Philippines’ environment minister on Tuesday ordered the cancellation of 75 mining contracts, two weeks after ordering the closure of half the country’s operating mines for causing environmental damage.
A long-time environmentalist, Regina Lopez ordered the halt of so-called mineral production sharing agreements as part of a stepped-up campaign to stop damage to watersheds and coastal waters and farmlands.
“You kill the watershed, you kill life. You kill the river, you kill agriculture, you kill the drinking water,” Lopez told a media briefing, adding the country did not want projects that are “raping” us.
Tampakan project stalled
Among the projects impacted by the order is the $5.9 billion (5.5 billion euros) Tampakan copper-gold project on Mindanao island, which would be one of the largest foreign investments in the country. The project has stalled since the province where it is located banned open-pit mining in 2010.
On February 2, Lopez ordered the closure of 23 of the Philippines’ 41 mines and the suspension of another five in a move that caused an outcry among miners and the industry in the world’s biggest nickel ore supplier. The mine closures impact about half the island nation’s nickel ore output.
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