The Philippine environment minister’s move to close some two dozen mines sparked concern Sunday among two of her colleagues, who said it could hit the economy and employment.
The mining industry — accused of illegal tree felling and polluting rivers — has also questioned the order of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.
The Philippines is the world’s top supplier of nickel ore and the main exporter to China. The order has already caused a rise in global nickel prices and a fall in local mining shares.
“I don’t think (Lopez) did it arbitrarily but anything like this would need a response like more scientific and data-driven studies,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
“Obviously it will have an effect on GDP and employment but we don’t have the hard data,” he told AFP.
Lopez, a staunch mining critic, said last week that 23 mines had been told to close after illegally…