Apr 21, 2019 | Updated: 07:32 PM EDT

Philippine Environment Secretary Regina Lopez Rejects $8 Billion Mining Contracts

Apr 30, 2017 08:27 AM EDT

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Trucks move tons of ore at the open pit mining area as a rainstorm approaches at the Oyu Tolgoi mine October 11, 2012 in the south Gobi desert, Khanbogd region, Mongolia.
(Photo : Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Mining investors are in a frantic state of panic when their contracts and concessions were rejected by the ever-vigilant Environment Secretary Regina Lopez. She is an appointee of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to handle the department. She never let him down since.

Earlier this year, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez ordered the closure of 23 mining firms for ruining important watershed areas and indiscriminate mining. Companies of mining firms that did not adhere to the mining laws that the government has imposed and has deeply scarred the lives of farmers and fisherfolks were the ones that were shut down. Lopez further reiterated that the noncompliance of mining companies is not acceptable under the Duterte Administration and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Regina Lopez shooed away mining investors who want to apply for mining concessions. Those who have contracts with the previous administration but had not started their operations faces cancellation of contracts. Industry officials cried over Lopez's decision saying that she is not in authority to pass decisions.

Chamber of Mines in the Philippines Vice President Ronald Recidoro insists that Regina Lopez's decision to reject the $8 billion dollar mining contracts were absurd and further stated that open pit mining is an accepted method practiced all over the world. He said that a safe and proper operation can be implemented. According to reports, the Philippine government had seen the catastrophe that the mining industry had done in degrading the environment into a wasteland, poisoning the water wells and utter destruction of livelihood in the field of agriculture, reports Phys.Org.

At a press conference held in the capital city of Manila, Regina Lopez showed footages of the devastation of the mining industry. Claiming that she had the right to implement decisions especially on the mandate of the mining law that a company or firm that is endangering the lives of future and present generations, reports HiTech Days.

Regina Lopez made an announcement to cancel 75 of the 311 mining contracts including the $5.9 billion Tampakan copper and gold project. Tampakan is one of the three open pit mining projects.

Mining firms accused Regina Lopez of breach of contract and campaigned for her nonappointment in congress. However, Duterte is behind her all the way.

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