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Environment Secretary Paje to cleanse Bicol mining industry

RAWIS, Legazpi City (July 5, 2011) – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje promised to protect legitimate mining industry players in this region by strict implementation of the “use it or lose it” policy.

In a statement issued by Paje to the DENR regional office here, he said that President Aquino has ordered to cleanse the mining industry of all non-compliant projects.

The Secretary confirmed that 1,148 mining applications were already cancelled by the DENR since the implementation of the “use it or lose it” policy.

In his statement, Paje criticized scheming speculators who make claims over mining tenements, which they hardly manage properly or put an investment to, but instead use them as an opportunistic tools to play in the Philippines Stock Exchange (PSE).

“The government’s focus is to help real miners and get rid of speculators in this industry,” Paje stressed.

He warned that “if a company will venture into mining, it should be compliant with environmental laws, clean and pollution free.”

The chief of the Mine Management Division of MGB, engineer Ricardo P. Nacional, disclosed that 153 aging and pending mining applications were already stricken out, while 11 others were endorsed to the central office for further action.

Nacional added, that by the middle of this year at least 194 mining speculators will be weeded-out from 2,180 mining tenements applications in this region.

Mining tenements include Mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA), Exploration permit (EP) and Financial and technical ssistance agreement (FTAA). (SONNY SALES)