MANILA, July 31 (Reuters) – The Philippines’ environment minister Roy Cimatu said on Monday he would not lift a ban on open-pit mining imposed in April in an anti-pollution crackdown, as an inter-agency mining council reviews how miners are taxed in the Philippines.
Cimatu, a former general, was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in May after Duterte’s previous choice as environment minister, firebrand Regina Lopez, failed to secure congressional confirmation after a drive to implement radical environment protection measures that raised mining industry hackles.
“There is a department order on the ban on open pit mining issued by Secretary Lopez,” Cimatu told a news conference in the capital. “It still stays.”
Staunch environmentalist Lopez led a 10-month campaign to rein in the mining industry, ordering the closure or suspension of 26 mines in the world’s top nickel ore supplier and imposing a ban on open-pit mining.
The fate of those mines remained uncertain, with Cimatu taking a more measured approach since taking office. He told reporters on Monday he was in no rush to make a decision on whether to maintain, modify, or reverse his predecessor’s orders.
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