Mining in six regions greenlighted

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DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu on Thursday announced that quarrying operations in six regions may resume after a week of suspension.

At a press conference held at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) main office, Cimatu announced that suspension of selected quarrying sites was lifted after the department’s review teams conducted quick assessment and site inspections to assure the public of safety from quarry operations.

“There are no communities around the quarry sites that will be affected in case of a landslide,” the Environment chief said as he greenlighted 90 percent of quarrying operations.

Given the go-signal to resume operations were 13 mining firms in La Union, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Zambales, Batangas, Rizal, Camarines Sur, Misamis Oriental, Iligan City and Davao City.

The quarrying ban remains in Naga City, Cebu, however, after the landslide incident that buried more than 20 houses and killed more than 60 people.

According to the DENR head, mining by Apo Land Quarry Corp (ALQC) in Naga is part of the “10 percent” of quarry operations that remain halted.

Cimatu disclosed that what prompted the decision to allow the mining sites to operate anew was to ensure the stability of cement production and supply in the country.

It was after Department of Trade and Industry raised concerns the quarry ban may affect prices of cement — a necessity in the government’s construction projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

ALQC, which is still banned from conducting operations, is one of the biggest cement manufacturers in the Philippines.

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