MANILA, Philippines — Some suspension or closure orders imposed by former environment secretary Regina Lopez on select mining sites may be maintained, while some may be lifted following the review of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.

In an interview, Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said the MICC has completed the review on the 26 mining sites ordered closed or suspended by Lopez.

Based on the review, Agabin said some mining operations were found violating environmental regulations and other laws, which warrants for their suspension or closure.

Some, on the other hand, were found to have some minor violations, which may be given time to be corrected, he said.

“It’s a range. Some yes, we agree – it’s really warranted. But some violations does not call for cancellation,” Agabin told reporters when asked if the closure and suspension orders would be maintained or lifted.

According to Agabin, the final results of the MICC review would be released within the month.

He said a Cabinet-level MICC meeting would be convened this month to present to the council the findings of the review teams. From there, the MICC will come up with its final recommendations to the DENR secretary.

“There will be findings specific to the mines. There will also be policy recommendations, which hope to improve rules and regulations regarding mining, revenue-sharing and protection of the environment,” he said.

The MICC is co-chaired by the secretaries of the DOF and the DENR.

Agabin represents the DOF in the MICC’s technical working group overseeing the review of mining operations in the country, which is part of the MICC’s mandate under Executive Order 79.

For this batch of mining sites, the MICC tapped 25 experts and five technical review teams tasked to conduct the assessment on the legal, technical, environmental, social and economic aspects of the mining sites.

The DOF earlier said the MICC intends to review about 70 other large-scale mining sites in the country, subject to the availability of funds. | Source: Philstar