The Philippines closed down 23 mines in a government campaign to fight environmental degradation. The mines that have been shut down are mostly nickel producers that account for about half of the output in the world’s top nickel ore suppliers. Another five mines suspended operations.

The mines ordered to shut down account for about 50 percent of the country’s annual output. According to Regina Lopez, secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), it is about social justice. “Why is mining more important than people’s lives?”, she said at a briefing that showed footage of damage from mining. President Duterte has backed Lopez’s decision.

The Philippines are the world’s largest nickel ore producers. Global nickel prices rose after the news of the mine closures.

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