DENR orders 23 mining firms closed
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday ordered the closure of 23 mining companies, led by Benguet Corp. for allegedly causing damage to watersheds
In a press briefing at the DENR office in Quezon City, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez said there were 21 mining firms to be closed, six to be suspended, and one deferred pending further review.
But later in the day, the DENR sent an email to reporters containing the "final list of mining audit report," with 23 mining firms for closure and five for suspension.
In the updated list, Lopez ordered the closure of Benguet Corp, in Benguet and Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp., which was initially included in the list for suspension, in Bulacan.
Among five companies Lopez ordered suspended from three to six months pending corrections to be made included Lepanto Consolidated, also based in Benguet.
Lopez said she deferred decision on another firm pending further review.
Four mining firms were ordered closed in Zambales. These are BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Inc. Eramen Minerals Inc., Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., and LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc.
Benguet Corp Nickel Mines Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Benguet Corp.
In Homonhon Island in Eastern Samar, those ordered closed were the Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corp., Emir Minerals Corp., and TechIron Mineral Resources Inc.
Seven companies in Dinagat Island were ordered to be closed. These are the AAMPHIL Natural Resources Exploration, Kromico Inc., SinoSteel Philippines H.Y. Mining Corporation, Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation, Wellex Mining Corporation, Libjo Mining Corporation, and Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp.
Also directed to close are ADNAMA Mining Resources Corporation, Claver Mineral Development Corp., Platinum Development Corp. CTP Construction and Mining Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corporation, Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation, and Hinatuan Mining Corporation, all in Surigao del Norte.
"Water is life...you cannot have mining operation in a watershed," said Lopez, who expressed confidence that President Rodrigo Duterte would support her.
"I am confident when he makes a decision, it's for the best of the Filipino people," she said.
Duterte, in a speech in Davao City, said he supports Lopez's decision.
"I support her. And (there) was never a time that I called her to slowdown a little bit because on one hand is the strict implementation of the mining laws...she's pro-people, pro-poor, policies that I said when I took her in, you can have your way, just be fair and make it legal," he said.
Lopez explained her closure order is subject to appeal to the Office of the President.
While on appeal, she said the mining firms could not be closed.
Once closure is effected, Lopez said her office would rehabilitate those mining pits for about one and a half years through the help of a foundation.
The other four companies which Lopez ordered to be suspended for three to six months pending corrections to be made by the firms are Berong Nickel Corporation, Oceanagold Phils. Inc., Citinickel Mines and Development Corp., and Strong Built Mining Development Corp..
The DENR deferred making any decision on Filiminera Resources Corporation.
Those ordered to be closed, suspended, and deferred were among the 41 existing metallic mining firms which the DENR subjected to audit starting July, shortly after Duterte assumed office. The other mining firms passed the audit. Celerina Monte/DMS