MANILA, July 20 The Philippine mining minister said on Wednesday she has asked Nickel Asia Corp to stop shipping nickel ore to China, citing environmental concerns at the company’s mine on an island along the country’s eastern central edge.
The move follows a government audit of Nickel Asia’s operations on Manicani island, where the country’s top nickel producer has stockpiled an estimated 1.4 million tonnes of ore from a closed mine.
The audit found that Nickel Asia was taking out too much soil in its Manicani hauling operations and shipping it to China along with the ore, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez told reporters after speaking at a business forum.
“It’s going to disturb the ecology of the place. What we have done is we have suspended the retrieval of the stockpile in the interest of keeping that island safe, to address the ecological balance of the island,” she said.
There was no immediate response from Nickel Asia to a Reuters’ request for comment. Lopez said she had recently met with Nickel Asia President Gerard Brimo to relay her concern about Manicani’s people and environment.
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