A masked environmental activist wags mock dollars bills during a protest outside the JP Morgan Chase & Co office to urge the multi-national company to stop its funding of a coal-fired power plant in the country and other coal projects all over the world, Oct 13, 2017, in suburban Taguig city east of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo)

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has not lifted a ban on open pit mining, his spokesman said on Monday, amid plans by a government panel to seek the removal of the policy.

“I assure you that this is one of the instances when I personally asked the President if there‘s been a change in policy. And he says that‘s there‘s still no new policy on this, there‘s still a ban on new open pit mining,” Harry Roque told a media briefing.

The Mining Industry Coordinating Council last month recommended the lifting of the ban on open pit mining and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has said he was hopeful that the restriction would be removed before year-end.

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