October 4, 2017 / 5:12 AM / in 15 days

Philippines environment minister says to uphold Duterte's open-pit mining ban

Philippines 'President Rodrigo Duterte stands at attention during a courtesy call with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers in Manila, Philippines, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Pool/Mark Cristino

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu said on Wednesday that he will uphold President Rodrigo Duterte’s plans to ban open-pit mining.

“We will eventually abide by the instruction of the president to stop open-pit mining in the future,” Cimatu told lawmakers during a confirmation hearing in Congress.

Duterte said last month he agreed with banning open-pit mining in the world’s top nickel ore exporter, given the environmental damage it causes, but would give mining firms time to find other ways to extract minerals.

Open-pit mining is formally allowed under the Philippines’ mining law, but Cimatu’s predecessor, Regina Lopez, slapped a ban on it during the 10 months she spent in office before being forced out after failing to win congressional confirmation.

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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