Jan 03, 2022 to Dec 29, 2022
Funding Agency:
Philippine Institute for Development Studies
Focus Area(s):
Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Management

The mining industry in the Philippines is governed by two major pieces of legislation – Republic Act (RA) No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act and RA 7076 or the Peoples Small-Scale Mining Act. Citing non-compliance with policy provisions, former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Regina Paz Lopez signed Administrative Order No. 2017-10 in April 2017, banning the open pit method of mining for copper, gold, silver, and complex ores. The decision was primarily motivated by the adverse environmental impacts of the mining method, including histories of waste dumping, heavy metal contamination, and mine tailings spills across the country. With the change in Departmental leadership and the incumbent administration’s priorities, the DENR issued Administrative Order 2021-40 lifting the four-year ban for copper, gold, silver, and complex ores with “additional enhanced parameters and criteria for surface mining methods”. This decision aimed to contribute to national recovery as well as promote rural job generation and countryside development, given the economic downturn resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic. The same action, however, raises critical questions on the potential impacts on ecological integrity and community welfare. This study looks at the economic, environmental and social implications of the lifting of the ban. The study generally aims to examine the economic, social, and environmental implications of lifting the open-pit mining ban. Specifically, it will determine the rationale behind varying insights on open pit mining operations; evaluate the social and environmental welfare costs in reopening mining sites; and provide ways forward on simultaneously optimizing open pit mining benefits and ensuring ecological integrity.

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