EARTH Thailand

Philippines' environment agency to cancel 75 mining contracts

Reuters 14 February 2017

MANILA - The Philippine environment minister on Tuesday ordered the cancellation of mining contracts in watershed areas, taking another bold step in protecting resources from extraction after earlier shutting more than half of the country's mines.

The total mining contracts to be rescinded is 75.

"You kill watershed, you kill life," Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez told a media briefing.

Many of the mining contracts, called mineral production sharing agreements, are still in exploration stage, and Lopez's latest action suggests she will not allow development of new mines.

Lopez on Feb. 2 ordered the closure of 23 of the Philippines' 41 mines for causing damage to watersheds and siltation of coastal waters and farmlands. Another five mines were suspended.

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz, Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Himani Sarkar)