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Philippines environment minister says to uphold Duterte's open-pit mining ban

MANILA, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Philippine Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu said on Wednesday that he will uphold President Rodrigo Duterte’s plans to ban open-pit mining.

“We will eventually abide by the instruction of the president to stop open-pit mining in the future,” Cimatu told lawmakers during a confirmation hearing in Congress.

Duterte said last month he agreed with banning open-pit mining in the world’s top nickel ore exporter, given the environmental damage it causes, but would give mining firms time to find other ways to extract minerals.

Open-pit mining is formally allowed under the Philippines’ mining law, but Cimatu’s predecessor, Regina Lopez, slapped a ban on it during the 10 months she spent in office before being forced out after failing to win congressional confirmation. (Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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