Finance chief: All mining sites to be reviewed under Duterte

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Miners of Philex Mines, Tuba, Benguet, inspect the blasted portion of their open site mining area.  INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / LEONCIO G. BALBIN JR.

The interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) will conduct a biennial review of mining operations nationwide, such that all sites will be covered before the end of the Duterte administration.

In a statement Monday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III noted that while the MICC, formed in 2012 through Executive Order No. 79 issued by former president Benigno Aquino III, was mandated to conduct a multi-stakeholder review of mine operations every two years, it had been unable to do so until this year.

Dominguez co-chairs the Cabinet-level MICC with Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

To recall, the MICC early this year had to review the 26 mining sites ordered shut down or suspended by former environment secretary Regina Paz Lopez.

For this initial round of review currently being undertaken by five technical review teams (TRTs), the MICC was scheduled to issue preliminary results in January next year, with a final report expected by March.

“The clustering of the mines for review was based on the types of minerals and locations, which are as follows: TRT 1 for gold, copper and nickel mines in Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, and Mimaropa Region; TRT 2 for iron and nickel mines in Central Luzon; TRT 3 for chromite, nickel and iron mines in Eastern Visayas and Caraga Region; and TRTs 4 and 5 for nickel and chromite mines in Caraga,” Finance Undersecretary Bayani H. Agabin said.

During last week’s MICC meeting, Dominguez told the council that “because we are mandated to do this every two years, I think in January we should already be planning what we will do for 2019.”

“Let’s start planning already for the second round,” which would cover a new set of mines, the Finance chief added.

Doing so will allow the MICC to review all mine sites nationwide “after two or three cycles,” Dominguez said. /cbb

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