THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Davao Region hopes to have the suspension of Pujada Nickel Project in Davao Oriental be lifted with the appointment of the new environment secretary.
During the term of former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, the Pujada Nickel Project in Mati, Davao Oriental was among the mining projects nationwide that were suspended.
"That is the prayer of those in the industry, that the orders issued by the former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez be reversed. Of course, our mining industry had already been affected," said MGB Acting Director lawyer Wilfredo Moncano.
Since the new Environment Secretary Roy Cimatuhave yet to issue any orders, the suspended mining companies remain to be suspended for the meantime.
Moncano said due to the suspension of the Pujada Nickel Project, more than 700 workers were affected. Only around 20 to 30 people were retained in the job to take care and safeguard the facilities and equipment at the plant. Most of the retrenched workers are currently unemployed.
"Secretary Cimatu already released an initial pronouncement. He already stated that he is open to new mining projects. We expect that because of his statement and once he is confirmed by the Commission on Appointment, those mining projects that are pending for approval, will be approved. Of course, we would abide by the environmental laws. We will still implement strict environmental measures that have started by Secretary Gina," he said.
With Apex Masara Gold Mines in Maco, CompostelaVally passing the audit and Holcim Philippines not included in the audit conducted, there are currently two operational mining projects in the region according to Moncano.