The Philippine mining minister's decision to close over half of the country's mines and suspend others is "illegal and unfair," an industry group said, as the minister stood by her action.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez on Thursday ordered 23 of the country's 41 mines shut permanently, saying many were operating in watersheds.
The mines to be closed account for half of nickel ore output by the world's top supplier of the metal. Another five mines were suspended.
"She violated due process - which is an inherent part of the rule of law – and did not give proper notice by consistently refusing to release the results of the audit to the affected parties," the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said in a statement released late on Monday.
A team that reviewed an audit of the mines recommended suspension of operations and payment of fines for environmental violations, rather than closure, two people with knowledge of the matter said.