The Philippines is the world's biggest supplier of nickel ore. President Rodrigo Duterte's government has shut down over half of the country's mines. His environment minister said that because of its unique ecosystem, the Philippines is simply unfit for mining.
The mining companies want the government to publish the environmental audit that has brought the industry to a grinding halt. They say the closures are too drastic, that mining policy isn't coherent and there could be knock-on effects elsewhere. But mining contributes less than one percent to the economy.
While the Philippines says it can live without its mining industry, the rest of the world still feels the impact. The crackdown has pushed up global prices for this key ingredient in stainless steel.
Caroline Bain, the chief commodities economist with London-based Capital Economics gives her take on the issue: "We think there are going to be appeals against their ruling - it might be that the impact is less than it appears on paper, but as it stands now, they're cutting off about 8 percent of global nickel supply with huge implications, given the Philippines supplies around 97 percent of China's nickel. So, this is a major disruption for the nickel market."
"Around 70 percent of the world's nickel is used to make stainless steel," explains Bain. "So that would be the primary impact on the stainless steel market. Nickel is also used in aerospace and green batteries and chemicals, so there are considerable ramifications."
Also on this episode of Counting the Cost:
Fake Ads: We spend so much time on our phones these days and there's one group of companies very eager to profit from that behaviour. Advertisers around the world are coughing up more and more cash to capture our digital attention.
For example, US advertisers spent $17.6bn on digital ads in the last quarter alone, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. That figure is even bigger if you look at the global picture. And it's likely to keep growing. Even the ad industry itself has become more digital dependent. The way ads are bought and placed online is often done with automated technology. But there's a problem in this brand new world. Digital advertising space is under daily attack and advertisers often end up paying for "fake ads".
So, how can advertisers be handing over money to fraudsters? Fake ads happen like this: The automated way advertisers buy ad space and the automated programs that digital media companies use to sell ads can be fooled. And who is committing the fraud? It's other computer programs. They pull ad revenue towards fake websites. Of course, advertisers want humans to see their ads not computer programs, so-called bots which aim rack up page impressions on fake sites.
The biggest digital ad fraud ever uncovered is known as the Methbot fraud. Hackers are thought to have made as much as $5m a day by faking video views and exploiting the pay-per-click system. And advertisers, understandably, don't want to hand over cash invested in their brands to fraudsters. David Murphy, head of digital media solutions at the Irish Times, discusses this trend.
Gambia's docile crocodiles: Gambia's tourism board is hoping to convince the new government to fund an advertising campaign that would lure back tourists after the recent political crisis. And the country's friendly reptiles form part of that plan. Reza Sayah reports from Banjul.
Mexico's Green Gold: Mexico is the world's number one producer of avocados and the US is its biggest market. But as the Trump administration threatens to change the NAFTA free trade deal, Mexican producers are worried about their future. John Holman reports from Uruapan.
Source: Al Jazeera