Miners slam demolition campaign, blame illegal small-scale mining – by Manolo Serapio Jr and Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – August 24, 2016)


MANILA – Miners claim the government’s environmental crackdown is a “demolition campaign” against mineral producers and are seeking to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte amid a spate of shutdowns stemming from the probe, an industry official said.

Duterte’s seven-week old government has so far suspended 10 mines, eight of them nickel, for environmental infractions, sowing fear among large-scale miners in the world’s top nickel producer that more shutdowns may follow.

The mining industry expects to push ahead with $23 billion worth of new investments from this year through 2020, but this “spirit of optimism is being shattered by … a very unstable policy outlook,” Benjamin Philip Romualdez, president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, said at an industry conference on Wednesday.

“Notwithstanding the ongoing demolition campaign that is maliciously maligning the true nature of legitimate mining, we will not allow anyone, to destroy our industry … and we will all do this under the rule of law,” said Romualdez.

It was the first time that domestic miners have spoken strongly against the government’s tough clampdown. Duterte, who was invited to speak at the conference but did not attend, has previously warned miners to strictly follow tighter environmental rules or shut down, saying the nation could survive without a mining industry.

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