MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines’ environment ministry said nine suspended mines will be allowed to resume operations if they rectify previous violations of environmental regulations, a move that could boost nickel output in the major supplier of the metal.
The nine mines were ordered permanently closed in February last year as part of an environmental clampdown on the sector. They appealed the decision, along with four other mines, and after a review, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu changed closure of the mines to a suspension.
Any re-opening of the nine mines – six of which are nickel – could improve the nation’s output of ore going forward, after the disruptions caused by the crackdown that began in 2016. The Philippines is the world’s second-biggest nickel ore producer after Indonesia.
“On top of the payment of the fines and penalties, these companies were directed to undertake corrective measures within a timetable,” Cimatu said in a statement on Friday.
Failure to do so will mean a reinstatement of the closure order on the mines, he said. “The sooner they complete the corrective measures, the sooner their suspension will be lifted,” Environment Undersecretary Analiza Teh told Reuters in a text message.