Mud from the lifting of open pit mining ban?

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one…” (Psalm 14:2-3, the Holy Bible).


MUD FROM THE LIFTING OF OPEN-PIT MINING BAN? It looks like the Philippines is going to be muddied all over again, as it were, with reports that the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) is recommending the lifting of the ban against open pit mining in the country, or the mining of gold and other minerals by digging soil, which was earlier stopped by former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.

The reports are clear: the MICC, which is headed by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, is at present still reviewing the orders issued by Lopez stopping open pit mining, and it would still be in March 2018 that the final report on the review is expected to be finalized and then released.The question: if the Duterte government has no decision yet on the propriety or impropriety of the orders stopping open-pit mining coming from Lopez then, and it would still be in March 2018 that this final decision would be known to all, why is the MICC, under Cimatu and Dominguez, already recommending the return of open-pit mining? However one may view this development, it would sure cause a lot of mud in places where there are open pit mining.


DUTERTE’S PREFERENCE ON OPEN-PIT MINING, DISREGARDED? If President Duterte is to have his way, he is in agreement with the cessation of open-pit mining, according to a host of media reports. In an interview, Duterte disclosed that he agreed with the decision of then Secretary Lopez, even if he qualified this by saying that stopping open-pit mining should not be done abruptly, but on several stages.

“I also told Secretary Cimatu to study the closure of open-pit mining, at the appropriate time,” Duterte told reporters. The only problem of the President here is that the decision of the MICC, which is headed by his secretaries of environment and finance, contravenes his pronouncements.

As I see it, many are asking, especially from the ranks of the opposition, why Cimatu and Dominguez are contradicting the policy laid down by their boss, President Duterte himself, on open pit mining? What could be the possible reason for their contradicting the President? Are they not afraid of Duterte, or, they know the true position of the President on the issue of open pit mining?


DESTRUCTIVENESS OF OPEN PIT MINING CANNOT BE IGNORED: It would be very easy for anyone to do some research, particularly in Google, as to the effects of open-pit mining in the countries which have allowed it. In, there is a list of the dangers that open pit mining can cause.

Among these are the following: air pollution, especially from the dust brought about by the movement of machines, trucks, and blasting of soil; sound pollution (due to blasting); ground vibrations which can cause structures to fall down; water pollution; forest destruction and environmental degradation; destroying the fertility of agricultural lands; and displacement of residents.

Perhaps, MICC, Cimatu, and Dominguez needed to explain if they are in conformity with these findings and, if so, how they propose to respond to them. These dangers cannot just be ignored and set aside, simply because the government wants to protect or uphold the interest of mining companies.


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