Profile: Regina Lopez is pushing for a new green politics in Asia
Populist and plain speaking, the Philippines’ new environment secretary, and former yoga nun, has declared war on mining, writes Keith Schneider Regina Lopez, the Philippine secretary of the environment, recalls precisely the moment when her revulsion at the country’s rapacious mining practices started.
The Philippine mining industry hoped Lopez would go away.
And it caused a global disturbance in the mining sector’s biggest wing, the country’s 27 nickel mines which supplied China with 95% of the imported nickel ore used to make steel.
She went on to revoke the government licenses for over 100 proposed metals mines, and signed an order that banned any new open pit mines for gold, silver, copper, nickel and other metals.
Though all the stop work orders that Lopez has issued are subject to appeal, and mines still operate, the response in the global mineral trade, especially in nickel ore sales, has been swift and powerful.
"We have suffered long enough," said Lopez during a news conference here on April 27 to announce the ban on new open pit mining.
All to play for The order to outlaw new open pit mines could very well be Lopez’s last as environment secretary.
The family of the committee’s vice-chairman owns a big metal mine.
I won’t cozy up to the mining companies and sacrifice the welfare of the people.
One of the factors, I think, why people are so supportive is that I just won’t do it."