February 20, 2017 / 11:51 AM / 6 months ago

Philippine panel says review of decision to shut mines may take three months

MANILA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - A Philippine panel tasked to review the environment minister's decision to shut more than half of the country's mines could take three months to complete it, a member of the committee said on Monday.

"Three months is probably reasonable," Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin told reporters. "It will merely be a fact-finding body, it should be unbiased."

The government's Mining Industry Coordinating Council will review Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez's order earlier this month to close 23 of the country's 41 operating mines for environmental violations including damaging watershed areas. Another five mines were suspended.

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Louise Heavens

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