New chamber of mines head takes up defense for open pit mining

September 4, 2017 - 3:47 PM
News5 video grab file of a mining operation.

MANILA – A new set of officers have taken office at the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, and reminded everyone that open pit mining is not outlawed in the Philippines, contrary to the impression created by the immediate past Environment secretary Gina Lopez.

According to the new COMP chairman Gerard Brimo, the Philippine Mining Act does not dictate the types of mining that a registered firm will adopt.

Mining firms must instead issue several undertakings, get permits, go through public hearings, get endorsements from local governments, and have their projects subjected to environmental impact assessment.

Brimo stressed that a project will never get regulatory clearance if it will impact the environment, especially the water supply.

Brimo, who is also president and CEO of Nickel Asia, said almost all countries practice open pit mining.
If this were prohibited, he wondered aloud, where will people source the minerals and metals they need everyday in numerous facets of life?

The Philippines is the only country that banned open pit mining, Brimo noted, referring to the prohibition imposed by then-DENR chief Gina Lopez, whose nomination was subsequently rejected by the Commission on Appointments.

Meanwhile, the Silangan Mindanao Mining of Philex Corp. is among the upcoming projects that will practice open pit mining. Philex stressed, however, that it had long prepared for Silangan’s project, taking measures to ensure their mining operations are sustainable.

The Philex officers invited the media to visit the mine site to see for themselves.