UPDATE 2-Philippines to review all mines as environmentalist takes the helm

Fri Jul 1, 2016 4:20am EDT
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* New minister to evaluate if Philippines is safe from mining

* Miners expect crackdown on environmental grounds

* Only 3 pct of Philippine mineral reserves is being mined

* Philippines is biggest nickel ore supplier to China (Adds comment from lawyer of industry group)

By Manolo Serapio Jr and Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA, July 1 (Reuters) - The Philippines will review all mines operating in the country, the new mining minister said on Friday, as the committed environmentalist vowed to determine whether the industry is hurting the Southeast Asian nation.

Regina Lopez's appointment to head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has sent shockwaves through the mining sector, which fears a nationwide crackdown.

"I'm not against the mining industry but I'm against suffering," Lopez told reporters on her first day in office as part of the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

"I do want to evaluate if the country is safe from mining," she told a briefing where videos were aired showing environmental harm from mining along with testimonies from farmers and fishermen opposed to the industry.   Continued...