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Philippine government lifts Lepanto Consolidated Mining's suspension

The Philippine government lifted a suspension order on Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co.'s operations, Reuters reported Oct. 16, citing a company filing.

The company outlined plans for a rights offer in July to resume operations at its namesake Lepanto gold-silver-copper property in northern Benguet province.

Lepanto was suspended in February, along with about two dozen other miners in the Philippines, as a result of a mining audit ordered by Regina Lopez, the former environment and natural resources secretary.

A few days later, Lopez also cancelled 75 mining contracts, known as mineral production sharing agreements. The contracts were all in watershed zones and covered projects that had not started producing.

According to the report, Lepanto filed an appeal with President Rodrigo Duterte's office shortly after being suspended for having unregistered infrastructure. Duterte's office held off on the order and allowed the miner to continue operations.

Earlier this month, the president's office gave Lepanto six months to implement certain mitigating measures and pay a fine of about US$2,482. The company is considering its options.

Roy Cimatu, the country's current environment minister, has yet to decide on the appeals and has created a study group, according to Environment Undersecretary Maria Paz Luna.