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Philippines shutters 23 mainly nickel mines, suspends further 5

The Philippine government has ordered the shutdown of 23 mines in the country, with a focus on nickel producers, which account for half of the country's nickel output, Reuters reported Feb. 2, citing a ministerial press conference.

The country also ordered suspensions at an additional five mines, including OceanaGold Corp.'s Didipio gold mine.

The closures and suspensions came on the back of an audit of 41 mines in the country, which was undertaken in a bid to protect the environment.

In June 2016, Rodrigo Duterte, then the Philippine's President-elect, said large mining firms whose operations threaten the environment need to "shape up" or be replaced by local investors.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines has been periodically issuing suspension orders for mines since the audit started.

In a Feb. 2 statement, OceanaGold said that when the company receives a formal suspension order, it has "very strong legal grounds to have it overturned."

"The Didipio operation is not in violation of any laws, rules or regulations, and the operation is not posing any threat to public, security, health, safety or otherwise," the gold miner said.