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The fate of 30 mining companies that failed the initial audit conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last year will be known on February 2.

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez is set to announce on February 2 the final results and recommendations of an audit team formed to look into violations of environmental safeguards by mining operators nationwide.

It will be recalled that barely one week after she assumed office on July 1, Lopez immediately ordered a review of all 41 operating metallic mines in the country.

Based on the initial results released last Sept. 27, only 11 mining companies "passed" the audit and 30 firms were either ordered suspended or recommended for suspension for failing to meet environmental safety standards.

In DENR Memorandum Order No. 2016-01 she issued on July 8 last year, Lopez ordered an industry-wide audit to look into the adequacy and efficiency of environmental protection measures taken by the mining companies, determine gaps in those measures and identify the appropriate penalties for violations of mining and environmental laws.

"In auditing these mining companies, we will not just look at the technical side but also the social practices – what are effects of these firms on the residents, water, among others,” Lopez said before the start of the mining audit last year.

The audit team is composed of representatives from the DENR central and regional offices, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Environmental Management Bureau, Biodiversity Management Bureau, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and civil society organizations.

The mining audit focused on safety and health, mine environmental management, social development, mining tenement, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, hazardous waste, and solid waste.

Among the major findings of the team were violations of the terms and conditions of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and Department Administrative Order (DAO) 2010-21, or the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, and DAO 200-98, which refers to Mine Safety and Health Standard. ###

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