DENR: Changes to make mining policies more responsive

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    Resilient. Mining companies welcome the findings of the audit on their operations, where only three of the 26 failed.
    Resilient. Mining companies welcome the findings of the audit on their operations, where only three of the 26 failed.

    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assured the mining industry government is working on better policies to boost the growth and development of mining firms.

    Analiza Teh, DENR undersecretary for climate change and mining concerns, said the agency identified four priority items that will make the government’s mining policies responsive to industry needs during the ongoing Mining Philippines 2019 forum at Pasay City.

    The said among the key policies that are being fine-tuned include the amendments to the implementing rules and regulations of the Mining Act instituting a new system of mineral resources exploration, development, utilization and conservation; the guidelines for the care and maintenance program for mining programs; and the amendment to the implementing rules and regulations of the act creating a people’s small-scale mining program.

    “Hopefully, with all these pending policies with the cooperation of the mining industry, slowly, we can formulate new policies that will really be responsive to the needs of the mining industry, support their investments and at the same time (ensure) the environmental safeguards are properly taken care of,” Teh said.

    She said amendments to the existing policies will be an opportunity to work with various stakeholders to integrate some of the recommendations of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) on issues such as the open-pit method ban provided that adequate environmental safeguards are put in place.

    Based on the MICC recommendation, not all open-pit mines produce acidic contaminants and that there are best practices, technique and technologies that can help avoid or manage the negative impacts of the process.

    The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) meanwhile remains positive over the industry’s resilience despite uncertainties in the sector.

    In the same forum, COMP chairman Gerard Brimo said the completion of the MICC audits on 26 companies that were served closure or suspension orders as a result of a previous audit was well-received by the industry.

    “The MICC audit was thorough and all-encompassing…as it involved not only environmental performance but also legal, technical and social prescriptions by individuals that were experts in those fields. It is good news because out of the 26, only three failed. Some others were asked to do remedial work, but the fact is that the vast majority passed,” Brimo said.