Philippines may suspend at least 10 more mines under crackdown

admin   •   September 19, 2016   •   4978

A view shows the gold mining town of Diwalwal in Compostela Valley, southern Philippines May 25, 2012. REUTERS/Erik De Castro/File Photo

A view shows the gold mining town of Diwalwal in Compostela Valley, southern Philippines May 25, 2012. REUTERS/Erik De Castro/File Photo

 

The Philippines could suspend at least 10 more mines under an environmental crackdown on the sector, the minister in charge of mining said, in a move that threatens to halt the operations of half the mines in the world’s top supplier of nickel ore.

Global nickel prices jumped 2 percent as the country’s second-biggest nickel producer warned that more new stoppages would disrupt shipments to the crucial Chinese market and elsewhere.President Rodrigo Duterte has taken a tough line on the industry and warned the nation could survive without mining, while mineral producers have labeled a review of the sector a “demolition campaign”.

The Philippines has already halted the operations of 10 mines, eight of them nickel producers, for environmental lapses since it launched an audit on July 8.

That has left 30 mines still operating, but Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez said others could be suspended when the agency releases the results of the mining audit on Thursday.

Asked if a further 10 or more mines could be suspended, Lopez said in a text message: “Yes possible.”

“We are coming clean here. For decades we have turned a blind eye to the suffering of our people. Not anymore,” she said, adding that any decision to halt mines would follow the law.

Lopez, a committed environmentalist picked by Duterte to promote responsible mining, has said miners have to upgrade their operations to limit harm to the environment and local communities.

“They just need to get their act together,” Lopez said in the text message.

“MINIMAL EXPORTS”

Dante Bravo, president of Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc, the Philippines’ No. 2 nickel producer, said further suspensions would hit shipments.

“Definitely, these suspensions would disrupt supply of nickel ore not only to China but to other markets as well,” said Bravo, who expects his company to pass the mining audit.

Bravo said nickel miners, many located in the southern Mindanao island, are also expected to halt operations in October due to the rainy season. “Hence, we would be seeing minimal exports toward the end of the year.”

Past environmental disasters, including a 1996 tailings leak at a copper mine in central Marinduque province that contaminated rivers, have spurred mining opponents in the Philippines led by the influential Catholic Church.

Miners, however, have questioned the inclusion of anti-mining activists in the audit teams.

The mine closures and the risk of more being shuttered had lifted three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange to a one-year high of $11,030 a tonne on Aug. 10.

Price have since eased, but the metal climbed 2 percent on Monday to $9,915 a tonne at 0645 GMT (02:45 a.m. EDT). It has gained 12 percent this year.

The Philippines is the biggest supplier of nickel ore to China, where the metal is used to make stainless steel.

The Southeast Asian country shipped 34 million tonnes to Beijing last year, while exports this year have dropped 27 percent in January-July. — Reuters

Eco-group pushes for consumer protection vs unsafe goods

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 3, 2019

Eco-group EcoWaste Coalition is pushing for consumer protection against unsafe goods in preparation for the holiday ‘shopping spree’.

This is in celebration of Consumer Welfare Month (CWM) this October. According to EcoWaste, the government should have more responsibility in guaranteeing that consumers are protected against abuses and imbalances in the marketplace.

“While protecting the consumer interest is indeed a shared responsibility, we believe that the government and the industry have the greater obligation of upholding the legally guaranteed rights of the Filipino consumer considering the powers and resources these two other pillars of consumer protection have,” according to Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has announced the theme of this year’s CWM which is ‘Consumer Protection: A Shared Responsibility.’

The DTI prepared several activities throughout the month in celebration of the CWM. These include a Konsyumer Caravan in several barangays in cities of Parañaque, Navotas, Manila, and Quezon on October 4, 11, 18, and 25.

The Konsyumer Caravan aims to educate consumers against buying hazardous products as well as their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Trade Laws.—AAC

DENR temporarily suspends dragon boat racing in Boracay

Marje Pelayo   •   September 27, 2019

Filipino rowing teams compete during the Summer Seasports Festival at Manila Bay, Philippines, 28 March 2009. EPA/DENNIS M. SABANGAN

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered the temporary ban on dragon boat racing in the island of Boracay following the tragedy that claimed the lives of seven members of a local dragon boat team.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu who chairs the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), said that such activities are “postponed for the time being until emergency protocols are thoroughly scrutinized.”

“We are temporarily suspending all dragon boat race activities in Boracay, including practice and training, until we have assessed their practice protocols,” he said.

Meanwhile, all concerned agencies are set to meet on Monday (September 30) to conduct an assessment of protocols and come up with recommendations to address the gaps in relation to the accident.

On Wednesday (September 25), seven members of the Boracay Dragon Force died when the boat they were rowing capsized off Boracay Island.

Fourteen of their team members were injured.

The group was training for an upcoming international competition in Taiwan.

Investigations revealed that the members of the team were not wearing life vests when the incident happened.

DENR to check rivers for coliform content amid polio outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2019

Filipino residents cross a hanging bridge along the polluted water of Pasig river in Manila, Philippines, 31 May 2018 (issued on 04 June 2018). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will conduct testing of water samples from all rivers across the country amid the ongoing outbreak of poliovirus.

The test is to determine the quality of and coliform content in the country’s bodies of water after water samples from the sewerage system in Tondo, Manila and Davao city tested positive of poliovirus.

According to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered all its regional offices to submit the results as soon as possible.

“Hahanapin namin ang mga pipes na nagtatapon sa mga rivers para masiguro natin na hindi na madagdagan pa ang polusyon ng river (We will trace the pipes that discharge directly into the rivers to make sure that pollution level in our rivers will not escalate),” Antiporda said. – MNP (with details from Grace Casin)

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