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DENR urges 26 mining firms to adopt remedial measures or face closure
THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources has urged 26 suspended or closed mining companies to adopt remedial measures of face closure.
“Mining companies need to shape up. The review specified major reforms needed, for example, on inadequate mine tailings pond and the very slow rehabilitation of the disturbed mined areas,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Aug. 6.
The review also pointed out unacceptable practices regarding stockpile areas, location of tailings storage facilities and dumping of toxic and hazardous waste, Cimatu noted.
“They have to address all of these issues or they will be closed,” he said.
The Mining Industry Coordinating Council adopted the report of its technical review teams tasked conduct an objective fact-finding and science-based review of the performance of the 26 mining companies.
Upon adoption of the report, the DENR is now faced with the challenge to determine the actions on the motion for reconsideration filed by 13 mining companies on the suspension and cancellation orders slapped against them.
“We will definitely use the comprehensive report made by the MICC review teams in evaluating whether or not a mining company should continue to operate. However, I am inclined to put more premium on the environmental considerations in the mining operations,” Cimatu said.
He urged the concerned mining firms to follow the suits of the other mine operators in the adoption of innovative and sustainable practices.
He echoed the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte that in the utilization of the natural resources, environmental protection is non-negotiable and is top priority.
Asked if with the release of the results of the MICC review the economy will see an increase in the production of minerals, Cimatu said: “This is definitely a new era of doing mining in the country. We are serious about reinventing mining in the Philippines.”
“As the President said he is more concerned of the actual benefits to the people not just the government revenues to be generated by the mining industry,” he said.
Cimatu said the department’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau would have to implement radical policy changes, including the strengthening of monitoring and permitting functions and improve the review of the technical, financial, environmental and social feasibility of mining.
“You will expect new administrative guidelines from DENR to operationalize these reforms. The mining industry is in deep need for radical change. And, to reiterate the message of the President in his SONA [State of the Nation Address], the people of the Philippines must benefit first and foremost from the utilization of the country’s mineral resources,” he said.