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Follow mining laws and there’ll be no problem, Duterte urges miners

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau is inspecting the abandoned Marcopper Mining Corp. mine site in Marinduque after local officials reported leaks in one of its dams. —INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

President Duterte assured mining companies that they could continue operating in the country as long as they follow the rules and the law, including those that protect the environment, Malacañang said on Friday.

Mr. Duterte met with representatives of the mining companies in Malacañang on Thursday, a little over a week after he warned them in his state of the nation address that he would tax them “to death” if they would not spend to restore the area they had damaged with their activities.

Otherwise, he would have to put a stop to mining, he said.

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“The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson gave the information that during that meeting with the miners, the President essentially said that for as long as mining groups, whether big or small, follow the rules on mining and keep environmental laws in mind, then there will be no problem and they can continue with their operations,” said Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Mr. Duterte reiterated his administration’s policy on mining.

In his Sona on July 24, the President had said that protecting the environment was paramount.

“The protection of the environment must be made a priority ahead of mining and all other activities that adversely affect it one way or the other. And this policy is non-negotiable,” he said.

He also warned them to refrain from the unbridled and irresponsible destruction of watersheds, forests and aquatic resources. The mining firms, he said, were responsible for the “full and quick clean-up, restoration and rehabilitation of all areas damaged by mining activities, and the extension of all necessary support to the communities that have suffered mining’s disastrous effects on their health, livelihood, and environment, among others.”

During his meeting with the mining executives on Thursday, the President also discussed his administration’s anti-drug campaign.

Photos released by Malacañang showed Mr. Duterte holding up his list of drug suspects, updated as of July 25.

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