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Mining industry's reactions over possible DENR chief

Miners on Tuesday reacted to the move of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to give environmental and vocal anti-mining advocate Gina Lopez the position of secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

"In light of recent developments, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines would just like to stress its continuing advocacy for responsible mining to benefit Filipinos, not just in mining communities but around the country," Ronald R.S Recidoro, vice president for Legal and Policy of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), said.

Duterte offered Lopez the post during her courtesy call at the Presidential Guest House of the DPWH Panacan Depot in Davao City, the camp of the next Chief Executive announced late Monday afternoon.

Lopez is chairperson of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PPRC). She was appointed to the position by President Benigno Aquino in 2010. She is also the managing director of ABS-CBN Lingkod Bayan Foundation.

"We stress the need for a Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary who has a solid background on the intricacies of natural resources management, and someone who is able to balance economic growth and the needs of the people with that of environmental protection, the protection of indigenous communities and the society," COMP said in a separate statement.

"The DENR needs a leader who understands the science and the will to enforce the sound policies in managing the country's rich resources; a secretary who will be consistent to President Duterte's development vision," it added.

COMP is an association of miners which counts as members Eramen Minerals Inc., Benguet Corp., Philex Mining Corp., Nickel Asia Corp., Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co., and TVI Resources Development (Phils.) Inc., among others.

For his part, Philex Mining Corp. Chairman Manuel Pangilinan took to Twitter. "Crash in (Philippine) Mining stocks this morning. There go the coal plants too. Can't look," he said.



After Lopez was offered the post on Monday, the Mining and Oil index of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) closed down by 4.09 percent Tuesday against a 1.33 percent gain in the benchmark PSEi.

"It was the possible appointment of Ms. Gina Lopez as DENR Secretary. She has been reported to be anti-mining which dragged share prices," Lexter Azurin, head of research at Unicapital Securities Inc. said in a separate interview. – VDS, GMA News