MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines, one of the world’s top suppliers of nickel ore, will this week start limiting the land that miners can develop at any one time as new rules to protect the environment take effect.
The new curbs, backed by President Rodrigo Duterte, target 29 of 48 mines operating in the Philippines, which are nickel producers supplying ores to the world’s leading market, China. Reuters first reported the new set of restrictions in April.
Mining is a deeply contentious issue in the resource-rich Southeast Asian country after past examples of environmental mismanagement. The industry group Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said it supports the government order.
Under the new rules, a 20-metre “buffer zone” will be established inward from the mining tenement boundary and near rivers and streams, where metals extraction will be banned.
Nickel miners will be limited to a production area ranging from 50 to 100 hectares (123-400 acres) at any one time, depending on the size of production and whether they have a processing plant.