Following an audit of mining operations in the country, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines recommended 20 mining companies be suspended, Rappler.com reported Sept. 27.
The miners include Sinosteel Corp.'s Sinosteel Philippines HY Mining Corp., the TVI Pacific Inc. and Mindoro Resources Ltd. joint venture Agata Mining Ventures Inc., Benguet Corp., OceanaGold Corp.'s OceanaGold Phils Inc., SR Metals Inc. and Carrascal Nickel Corp.
The new suspensions are in addition to 10 mines already suspended, eight of which were nickel producers, due to environmental violations, since the audit started in July. The new move will take the total number of suspended nickel mines to 18 out of the total 30.
Main violations cited for the new suspensions included siltation, dust, no tree-cutting permits, and unsystematic mining methods.
Environment Undersecretary Leo Jasareno said a further 11 firms will not be penalized but will remain under observation until they address their violations. These companies include Philex Mining Corp., Platinum Group Metals Corp., Atlas Consolidated Mining & Development Corp., Apex Mining Co. Inc. and Greenstone Resources Corp.
"I want to make it clear, I have no beef with mining, but I'm vehemently against adverse effects that may happen, that are happening," Environment Secretary Gina Lopez was quoted as saying. "For a hundred years, we turned a blind eye. I don't even blame it on the mining industry; it's because we at DENR have been lax."