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Environmentalists warned against plans by a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to undertake large-scale coal mining operations in South Cotabato.

Lawyer Noel Ben, director of the Marist Hope Center for Justice and Good Governance, said the San Miguel Energy Corporation has been acquiring and clearing vast tracts of land, particularly in the Daguma mountain range that straddles the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, in preparation for the project.

The company is a subsidiary of SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation, one of the largest power firms in the country.

The problem, according to the environmentalists, is that San Miguel would use the open-pit mining method, which has been banned by South Cotabato’s 2010 environment code and which the local Catholic diocese and many residents oppose.