Chamber of Mines adopts Canadian sustainable mining initiative

By on December 19, 2017

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) has moved to formally and officially adopt Canada’s sustainable mining model, Business Mirror reported Monday.

The adoption of Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM), a mining-sustainability standard developed by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to the industry to be more responsible in doing business.

“There is so much that minerals development—done responsibly—can contribute to the economy of a nation and to the welfare of mining communities, as shown by numerous examples in the Philippines. The adoption of TSM by members of the Chamber of Mines is intended to institutionalize practices that secure these contributions for the long term,” Gerard H. Brimo, COMP chairman and president and CEO of the Nickel Asia Corp., said in a statement.

The adoption is contained in a Mutual Cooperation and Licensing Agreement with the MAC for the implementation of the TSM initiative.
A second agreement — to be signed by all existing operating mines in the country, according to COMP Executive Director Ronald Recidoro — is The Baguio Declaration, or a Commitment to Responsible Minerals Development in the Philippines.
Mining firms signed this together with Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who also witnessed the TSM signing with Canadian Ambassador John Holmes on Tuesday at the Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.

For his part, MAC President and CEO Pierre Gratton lauded COMP for its decision to partner with the Canadian association and adopt its sustainable-mining model.

“It is our privilege to share our tools and expertise in sustainable mining practices with the world. With the Philippines’s adoption of TSM, we’re proud to say that our made-in-Canada program is now in five countries on five continents. We applaud the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines for taking this important step forward as it works to enhance its industry’s environmental and social performance,” he said.

The Baguio Declaration, meanwhile, affirms the miners’ commitment to responsible mining in response to the challenge of the environment chief during the 64th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference, organized by the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association and held in Baguio City last November.

According to Recidoro, the Chamber’s adoption of the TSM initiative is a first for national mining association operating within the Southeast Asian region.

The COMP, however, is the fourth national mining association outside of Canada to adopt TSM in the span of less than two years, underscoring the program’s growing global presence.

The national mining associations of Finland (FinnMin), Argentina (Cámara Argentina de Empresarios Mineros) and Botswana (Botswana Chamber of Mines) are currently implementing TSM.

Launched by the MAC in 2004, the implementation of TSM is mandatory for all MAC members’ Canadian operations, but many voluntarily apply it to their international sites, Recidoro said.

MAC freely shares TSM with other countries seeking tools to improve the environmental and social performance of their mining industries, including engagement with civil society and enhanced transparency and accountability.

TSM requires mining companies to annually assess their facilities’ performance in key areas, including tailings management, community outreach, safety and health, biodiversity conservation, crisis management, energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions management.

The results are freely available to the public and are externally verified every three years to ensure what has been reported is accurate. While COMP will tailor its performance areas so that they reflect the unique aspects of its domestic mining sector, they will strongly align with those of Canada’s.

To ensure TSM reflects the expectations of civil society and industry stakeholders, it was designed and continues to be shaped by an independent, multi-interest advisory panel. As part of its implementation, COMP will implement a similar advisory body to provide this valuable oversight function.

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