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Philippines may suspend at least 10 more mines under crackdown

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, September 19th, 2016

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

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We will never sell Manila Zoo—Mayor Isko Moreno

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 4th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Manila Zoo

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has vowed not to sell Manila Zoo during his inspection in the area on Thursday (July 4).

“We will never sell Manila Zoo. It will be run by the local government unit. No matter how, we are going to modernize to address the demands of our time,” according to Moreno.

Despite being closed to the public for six months since January, the facility still has no sewerage treatment plant (STP).

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shut down the operations of Manila Zoo after discovering it is contributing waste in Manila Bay.

Aside from the STP, Manila Zoo also needs a proper drainage system and water pipes.

Domagoso said there is no timeline yet on the reopening of Manila Zoo since the facility needs to pass DENR standards. He added that they would still need to manage the budget to construct an STP.

“Kung next month, na-comply namin iyong problema or requirements ng DENR, sa amin, bilang local government, we’ll open (If we are able to comply with the DENR requirements by next month, we will resume operation),” he said. —AAC (with reports from April Cenedoza)

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DENR calls on gov’t, business sector to address problem of plastic pollution

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 4th, 2019

DPWH personnel collect plastic waste from polluted esteros | Courtesy: DENR

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged the government and business sectors to work together in addressing plastic pollution in the country.

Assistant Secretary and Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon said lessening the use of plastics can help prevent marine creatures from ingesting plastic.

“We urge everyone to join the pledge for our environment; a pledge that will institutionalize our collective and collaborative action towards addressing the issue of marine debris,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DENR eyes on rehabilitating Baguio City’s Balili River, which coliform level is even worse than that of the Manila Bay.—AAC

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LIST: School supplies containing lead, cadmium

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Courtesy: EcoWaste Coalition

EcoWaste Coalition has listed several school supplies containing cadmium and lead which are harmful to students.

The environment group alerted consumers against purchasing school supplies laced with hazardous substances such as cadmium and lead.

“While many school supplies are generally harmless, there are some items that contain undisclosed chemicals that are banned or restricted in children’s toys because of their harmful effects on children’s health and the environment, too,” stated Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) lead and cadmium are included in the list of “10 chemicals of major public health concern.”

Among the samples found to contain high concentrations of lead were:

  1. An Artex Fine Water Colors (bright yellow cake), 86,000 ppm
  2. A yellow painted metal water container with Minions design, 65,500 ppm
  3. A red coated hair clip, 42,600 ppm
  4. A yellow painted metal water container with Rabbit design, 39,300 ppm
  5. A yellow coated hair clip, 15,800 ppm
  6. A backpack with Ultraman design, 12,100 ppm
  7. An MPC Classique Water Colors (light yellow cake), 4,914 ppm
  8. A bag tag with a Doraemon design, 3,659 ppm
  9. A yellow Fairyland crayon, 3,191 ppm
  10. A bag tag with Superman design, 2,361 ppm
  11. A backpack with Ben 10 design, 1,908
  12. A backpack with Hello Kitty design, 1,879 ppm

“Parents should be on the lookout for these items that may contain hazardous chemicals such as cadmium, lead, and phthalates,” Dizon said.

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