Should the government approve the operations of the Silangan Mine of Philex Mining Corp., the Pangilinan-led company said it will push through with the project under a two-stage development scheme.

“It’s a two-stage mining development,” Philex Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting in Pasig City on Wednesday.

“The first stage is an open pit situation, and the second stage is underground – and it’s sequential,” Pangilinan noted.

The Silangan Mine operations in Surigao del Norte has been put on hold after then-Environment Secretary Gina Lopez issued an order a banning all open pit mining operations in the country.

“In the meantime, we have to complete all of the requirements and approvals from government,” Pangilinan said.

The open pit mine will be smaller than other similar operations.

“The size of the open pit length may be less than 2 kilometers. So it’s not a big crater as such,” Pangilinan said.

“It’s not a big pit as such. So after ten years, more or less, we have to go underground, so it’s not a long-term open pit operation as such,” he added.

Pangilinan is optimistic about the mining industry under the leadership of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

“My understanding is he’s acting secretary. As such … I’m not a lawyer … my understanding is that he’s authorized to sign at this stage until he’s appointed as the secretary of DENR. So, I think, we just have to patient until that happens,” he said.

“Maybe that could happen once Congress reconvenes on July 24, together with the SONA of the President,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to deliver his second State of the Nation Address when the 17th Congress reopens next month from a recess. — VDS, GMA News

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