Business as usual for mining

MINES and Geosciences Bureau – Cordillera regional director Faye Apil said operations of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation and Benguet Corporation continues until the final and executory order from Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez.

Previously, Lopez announced the suspension of LCMC and ordered closure of Benguet Corporation as a result of a mine audit done when she assumed office.

Apil said until there is a final and executory order from the secretary, the mines in question continues to operate in the province.

Lepanto, Benguet Corp. and Philex Mining Corp are the three major mining companies operating Benguet province seen as sources of employment, livelihood and income for host communities and the province.

The DENR recommended the suspension of 20 mining firms, including Lepanto and Benguet Corp. following the completion of its audit of mines all over the country.

Only Philex Mines was spared from suspension and closure after passing the rigorous mine audit.

An MGB data reveals mining production for 2015 amounted to P11.2 billion and employed 6,974 from the industry.

In a bid to stop the closure of several mines in the country, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CoMP) charged Lopez with violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Sections 4 (b) and 5 (a) of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees alleging she caused “undue injuries” to the mining industry when it ordered the closure of 23 mining firms and suspension of five other firms based on an unsubstantiated mining audit.

Meanwhile, Apil said companies may exhaust all legal means to thwart the order which includes an appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte.

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