Gov’t asks miners to adopt sustainable practices

posted August 11, 2021 at 07:02 pm
by  Julito G. Rada
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III assured the public Wednesday that the Duterte administration will strictly enforce the “non-negotiable condition” on the mining industry to adopt environmentally sustainable and responsible extractive practices to guarantee the sustainability of this potential economic growth driver and the vibrant future of its host-communities.

Dominguez said in a pre-recorded message at the opening of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council’s Mining Review Dissemination Forum that it is crucial for the government’s policy decisions on the sector to be aligned with facts and science.

He said to ensure an objective assessment that will result in policy and regulatory reforms for the industry, MICC commissioned independent, multi-disciplinary teams composed of technical, legal, social, economic and environmental experts to undertake a review of large-scale metallic mines in the country.

These teams, which worked from February 2018 to December2020, submitted their recommendations covering their two-phase review of 44 large-scale metallic mines operated by 43 companies, Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the MICC, in the succeeding phase of the comprehensive review, plans to cover priority mining and quarry operations across the country, including some mines in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Dominguez, who co-chairs the MICC with Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, said he was expecting the experts’ recommendations to raise public awareness about the value of mining to the economy and elevate the quality of debate on the regulatory regime governing this industry, “firmly grounding it on facts and science.”

“As the Philippines fights its way out of the economic downturn and back to the path of vigorous growth, every sector of business activity is important. The Duterte administration recognizes that mining is potentially a driver of our economic recovery. In fact, it is pushing the revival of the industry to provide jobs and energize economies in the countryside,” Dominguez said.

“The Duterte administration is doing its utmost to ensure that the mining industry will strictly adopt environmentally sustainable and responsible extractive practices. This non-negotiable condition will help guarantee the sustainability of the industry and the vibrant economic future of its host communities,” he said.

Dominguez said the Philippines is one of the countries in the world rich in mineral resources, which can reap tremendous benefits for the economy and its people if responsible and sustainable practices are strictly adhered to by the mining industry.

He said that on top of creating jobs and driving the growth of local economies, mining projects also lead to additional investments in infrastructure, utilities and other social development initiatives that benefit their respective host communities.

“It is therefore crucial to ensure that we align our policies for this industry to facts and science. Otherwise, policy decisions could wreak havoc on an industry on which many local communities depend on,” Dominguez said.

He said “wrong-headed policies” could end up damaging the environment instead of protecting it as he recalled the time when mining regulation “was so politicized that informal and small-scale mining operations were allowed to be completely unregulated.”

Dominguez said the comprehensive review ordered by the MICC provides a venue to share its findings and lessons—both good and bad—with a view to raise awareness that will lead to policy and regulatory reform.”

The mining audit was mandated by Executive Order No. 79 in 2012, which directs the MICC to undertake a multi-stakeholder review on the performance of existing mining operations.

The purpose of the audit is to address issues relating to the mining industry and to improve the regulation of the sector.

“While it was mandated as early as 2012, no review was done until the Duterte administration took over and seriously committed to perform this important task,” Dominguez said.

Topics: Mining , Philippines , MICC , Carlos Dominguez , sustainable practices
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