A review of 27 mines in the Philippines has found that only 23 of them are compliant with state regulations and will therefore be allowed to continue operations, while the non-compliant mines could face closure.

The Philippines is currently second-largest producer of nickel in the world.

A government-appointed panel issued the final report following a review of the mines that were ordered to be closed or suspended last year, reported Reuters.

“A decision is expected to be taken soon regarding the four mines that were found to be non-compliant with legal, technical, economic, social and environmental conditions.”

Mining is considered to be a contentious topic in the Philippines given that environmental mismanagement were reported in earlier instances.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu noted that a decision is expected to be taken soon regarding the four mines that were found to be non-compliant.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau head Wilfredo Moncano told Reuters: “The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will meet to decide whether to pursue the closure or give them a second chance.”

Cimatu did not disclose the names of the four nickel mines that failed to comply.

The final decision on the mines will be taken by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

In 2016, Duterte warned mining companies that they would have to follow stringent environmental rules or face closure.

Mining sector’s contribution to the Philippines’ economy is less than 1%. Only 3% of the country’s nine million ha of mining projects have been identified to contain high mineral reserves.

The country has 50 operating mines, including 30 that primarily have nickel ore.

Most of the country’s nickel ore is exported to China, where it is used in the production of steel.