DENR and MGB impose greening of open-pit mines policy

By on June 19, 2018

Following a consultation meeting conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered miners to plant trees and to continue to do progressive rehabilitation work on their open-pit mines in compliance with the directives of President Duterte on the protection of the environment.

The miners have been given six months to “continue greening the bald areas” in mining sites and do revegetation work to restore the balance and make their areas more pleasing to look at.

They were also encouraged to plant fast-growing trees and shrubs that thrive regardless of the weather, since the President is expecting to see trees “as tall as him” by October.

The order is in keeping with the role of the DENR and MGB as stewards of the environment while regulating and keeping the mining industry thriving through responsible practices.

Secretary Cimatu also announced that the partial results of the DENR mine audit have been submitted to him and that the Department is currently “harmonizing” the results with those of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC).

It was previously reported that the DENR and the MICC would conduct a “fact-finding and science-based” review and re-evaluation of the 26 mines that were ordered closed or suspended by then Secretary Gina Lopez.

He also confirmed that the combined results will be final and that some mines will be penalized.

Secretary Cimatu lauded Filminera Resources Corporation and tagged the company as the “best mining company” and their mine site as the “best he has ever seen.”

The Secretary recently visited the mine site in Aroroy, Masbate that is jointly operated by Filminera Resources Corporation and Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corp., where benching, a type of open-pit mining, is being practiced.

He said he was impressed at how their open-pit mine looked “green” and how the company has deployed reef balls for their coral reef rehabilitation project that restored coral reefs wrecked by illegal and destructive fishing.

Secretary Cimatu added that coral reef rehabilitation using reef balls can also be done in Boracay and encouraged the mining companies to donate whatever they can to help restore the Island.

He also urged mining companies to practice benching, if applicable, to make their mine sites more pleasing to look at.

Gerard Brimo, Chairman of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), and President and CEO of Nickel Asia Corporation, expressed gratitude to Secretary Cimatu for making the effort to communicate and consult with the mining industry to come up with effective policies aimed to sustain mining projects while protecting the environment.

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