By Manolo Serapio Jr and John Chalmers/REUTERS – Philippine Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez will not reconsider her decision to shut down 23 of the country’s 41 mines, saying the Southeast Asian nation is “unfit for mining.”
Lopez last week ordered the mines permanently shut and suspended five others, shocking mineral producers that have vowed to overturn a ruling that they say will affect 1.2 million people.
The 63-year-old minister defended her decision, convinced of mining’s destructive nature.
“Every time you put up an open pit and every time you put up a tailing pond you’re putting our country at risk,” Lopez told Reuters on Monday in an interview at her office in Manila.
“It’s really unfair. I’ll be so blatant to say the Philippines is unfit for mining. Because we’re an island ecosystem with biodiversity and endemicity like no other.”
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