The Philippine Nickel Industry Association Inc. expressed disappointment over the decision of Secretary Gina Lopez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to suspend and shut down the operations of 28 mining companies in the Philippines,
“We believe that the Secretary’s action is not only bereft of transparency, due process and factual basis, but likewise detrimental to the mining industry and the Philippine economy as a whole and a serious threat to the livelihood and economic well-being of the affected communities,” the group said in a statement.
Lopez announced the suspension and closure of the 28 mines in a press conference last week, claiming that they did not comply with laws and regulations. The DENR chief made the announcement after ignoring the results of a a government audit showing many of those meted with suspensions and closure of operations passed the test.
“We find it highly irregular that no official of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau was present during the announcement. MGB, being the lead agency in the mining audit, should have been present to discuss and explain the results of the audit,” PNIAI said.
“Mining operations are highly technical and scientific, and should not be based merely on a lay person’s visual appreciation. Yet, vague, unauthenticated aerial videos of the mine sites and its surrounding areas were presented to support the Secretary’s decision. No scientific data was presented. Actual studies and data from technical experts who took part in the audit were withheld,” it said.