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Experts hired by MICC to review mining operations
The review of the 26 mining operations ordered shuttered or suspended by former environment chief Regina Paz Lopez last year will start this month, with 25 experts hired to do it, the Department of Finance (DOF) said in a Philippine Daily Inquirer report.
In a statement, Finance Undersecretary Bayani H. Agabin said the experts would form part of the five technical review teams formed by the interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) to do the review.
“The MICC will tap the expertise of the Development Academy of the Philippines to implement and manage the fact-finding and science-based review process on the mining operations,” Agabin said.
The DOF quoted National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Mercedita A. Sombilla as saying during a recent MICC meeting that “the review should come up with recommendations on mining-related methodologies and procedures to maximize the benefits of mining and avoid damages; the list of inefficiencies/violations/damages done by mining companies that are difficult to address by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources alone, and the appropriate penalties to be imposed for inefficiencies/violations/ damages done.”
The teams are also expected to recommend measures to be instituted to avoid the recurrence of such inefficiencies/violations/damages, and to improve mining operations with the view of effectively safeguarding the environment and protecting the rights of resource-dependent communities, Sombilla said.
“A list of provisions in any laws, rules and regulations that need to be revised or amended to improve mining operations and ensure the development of a responsible mining sector, along with a framework or set of standards and procedures to institutionalize the conduct of review of the remaining operating mines should also be covered by the study to be done by the technical review teams,” Sombilla said.
Agabin earlier said the clustering of the mines for review was based on the types of minerals and locations, which are as follow: technical review team 1 for gold, copper and nickel mines in Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, and Mimaropa Region; technical review team 2 for iron and nickel mines in Central Luzon; technical review team 3 for chromite, nickel and iron mines in Eastern Visayas and Caraga Region, and technical review teams 4 and 5 for nickel and chromite mines in Caraga.
According to Sombilla, the five technical review teams will consolidate a final report.
“We will not see individual reports for each of the mines. It’s going to be consolidated. It’s going to be general—the key results that will come out of the review of the 26 mining sites,” she said.