Philippines' Duterte supports minister's decision to close mines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while speaking during a late night news conference at the presidential palace in Manila, Philippines January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Ezra Acayan

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he supported a decision by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez to shut mines for environmental violations.

“She’s very adamant, I support her, she’s pro-people, pro-poor. I said to her you can have your way, just be fair and make it legal, that’s about the only standard that we follow,” Duterte told an event in southern Davao City.

Lopez earlier in the day ordered the closure of 21 mines, mostly nickel producers that account for about half of output in the world’s top nickel ore supplier, as she stepped up a government campaign to limit environmental damage from the mining sector.

Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Martin Petty; Editing by Richard Pullin