An order “banning the open-pit method of mining for copper, gold, silver, and complex ores in the country” was issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on April 27, 2017. Justifications for the order included past environmental disasters caused by mining operations that employed the open-pit mining method and indicated that such mining method poses risks to host communities and the environment. The order affects prospective mining projects that would employ the open-pit mining method. On December 23, 2021, the ban was lifted on the premise that the “revitalization of the mineral resource industry is one measure to achieve economic growth amid the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” The rationale behind opposing development perspectives/sentiments on open-pit mining was reviewed, and the ecological integrity implications of open-pit mining were discussed. Facts were cited, and challenges or high-level opportunities for improvement on various aspects of regulating mining activities, in general, were flagged. The method of mining (i.e., surface/open pit or underground) and type of commodity extracted (i.e., metallics, non-metallics were emphasized as not the only major factors causing unacceptable outcomes from mining, such as potentials for environmental disasters or negative impact on social welfare. Two major directions were provided, and options moving forward to optimize benefits from approved mining projects were enumerated.
Comments to this paper are welcome within 60 days from the date of posting. Email email@example.com.