Philippines to suspend 12 more mines in environmental crackdown – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – September 21, 2016)

MANILA – A dozen more Philippine mines, mostly nickel projects, are in danger of being suspended in an ongoing environmental crackdown on the sector, an environment undersecretary said on Wednesday.

The Southeast Asian nation, the world’s top supplier of nickel ore, has already halted the operations of 10 mines, eight of them nickel producers, for environmental lapses since it launched an audit in July, stoking increases in global prices.

A total of 40 large-scale metal mines in the country underwent an audit launched on July 8 by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez as she sought to stop what she claims is irresponsible mining from harming the environment.

The audit committee recommended to halt the operations of 12 more mines because of environmental and legal violations,Environment Undersecretary Leo Jasareno told reporters after the committee meeting. “We will be ready with the final report on Monday,” Jasareno said, adding that Lopez will decide on the additional suspensions.

Jasareno, who led the audit team, declined to identify the candidates for suspension, but he said they are “mostly nickel” producers. He cited “inadequate social development efforts” and “inadequate mining practice” as the main reasons for recommending the suspension of the 12 mines.

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