Open-pit mining shutdown by year end mulled

By Genalyn D. Kabiling

SEOUL – President Duterte is mulling the shutdown of open-pit mining by the end of the year if such mineral development operations don’t clean up their act.

Addressing the Filipino community in South Korea last Sunday, the President admitted that he opposes open pit mining due to the damage caused on the environment.

“Marami tayong problema. Mining, ‘yang open-pit. It’s destroying the country…Baka ipagsara ko talaga ang mining na open-pit ,” Duterte said in his remarks.

“Either we have to reinvent mining in the Philippines or sarado kayong lahat by the end of the year,” he said.

Despite the huge revenues from mining operations, Duterte said the government must make a “compromise” to prevent the further degradation of the environment caused by mining.

“We get about R70 billion in taxes sa mining. But I’d like to announce now, we’ll have to compromise. We’ll have to limit the destruction of the environment,” he said.

Last April, the President ordered mining firms to conduct tree planting projects and threatened to ban open pit mining next year. The government has banned new open pit mines last year due to the alleged widespread destruction to the soil and environment.