MANILA — Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Gina Lopez claims open pit mining inflicts huge damages to the environment.
In this method, miners create huge holes in mountains to extract ores like gold, copper, and silver.
There are currently 14 mining operations that use the open pit method across the country.
Ten of these have already been abandoned or suspended like the Dizon Copper Mines in Zambales.
It has already been 20 years since mining in the provinces stopped, but the stagnant water left in the once mining areas has put in danger communities on the foot of the mountains.
In fact, the DENR claims that the high toxicity level of the stagnant water in the mining areas can melt metal.
Lopez said she will cancel the Mining Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of prospective open pit mines.
“It’s the duty of the DENR secretary to evaluate MPSAs and it’s the duty of the secretary to mandate policies which are for the welfare of our people,” she said.
The environment secretary also clarified that the ban will not cover the existing open-pit mines.
Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), on the other hand, argues that open-pit mining is an acceptable method internationally.
COMP explains that after an area is used for open pit mining, it can be rehabilitated and used for agriculture, fishing, and even tourism.
Meanwhile, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) has expressed support for the confirmation of Lopez as DENR chief.
On May 2, Lopez will face anew the Commission on Appointments (CA) that previously bypassed her confirmation.
During the hearing, the CA will decide on whether or not Lopez will remain as environment secretary. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue