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Aquino promises 'rational' mining

Government acts after pressure from green groups

Aquino promises 'rational' mining
Compostela Valley landslide (photo courtesy of reporter, Manila

April 29, 2011

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The presidential palace says the government will pursue a more rational mining policy to guide small-scale mining operations,  following last week's mine disaster in the southern Philippines. Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters yesterday that this was agreed in a meeting between President Benigno Aquino III and members of his cabinet. Environmentalist groups have been calling on Aquino to suspend all mining operations in critical areas of the country, particularly Compostela Valley, Mindanao, where 13 people were killed in a landslide on Good Friday.  They said the tragedy should be an “eye-opener” for the government to review its mining policies. Lacierda said that, during the meeting,  presentations were given on the country's mining policy and how it affects host communities. "We discussed small-scale and large-scale mining, what are the problems, what are the issues and what are the directions to be given," he said. "Without going into details, we are going to come up with a more rational policy. Certain solutions were suggested and there's going to be some movement, especially with respect to small-scale mining.” He said that based on the presentations and the discussions, "there was a decision to make sure that certain mining policies be refined, retuned and the issues of local laws and national laws on mining be further clarified." Lacierda also emphasized the government's concern over child labor in small-scale mining. "The Department of Justice was told our laws must be enforced," he said. "The Department of Social Welfare and Development was also told to make sure that all these areas where child laborers are being used in mining are monitored and should be prohibited.” PM14044
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