MGB sets full implementation of its new mining policies

By on September 10, 2018

While the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is yet to close the books on its highly contested suspension and closure orders on 26 mines, it is business as usual for the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

MGB, the agency tasked to regulate the extractive industries, is now gearing for the full implementation of newly issued mining policies, the Manila Bulletin reported.

Among the new policies that MGB is set to implement are the memorandum circulars (MC) 2018-01 and 2018-02, which are the guidelines in the conduct of apprehension, seizure, confiscation, and disposition of illegally sourced minerals and their products, tools, conveyances, and equipment used as well as the the guidelines for compliance monitoring and rating/scorecard for mining permits and contracts, respectively.

MGB had recently set an orientation workshop for its Regional Offices (RO) technical personnel regarding the newly issued policies in order to acquaint and capacitate them to become more effective in carrying out their mandate.

During the meeting, the main element of the scorecard for mining operations — which is the Tenement, Safety and Health, Environment and Social Development (TSHES) Compliance Performance Rating — was discussed.

The TSHES performance rating will grade mining companies based on their implementation of the approved Three-Year Development/Utilization Work Program, Safety and Health Programs; Environmental Work Programs; Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programs; Community Development Programs; and Social Development and Management Programs, as well as their compliance with the standardized monitoring scorecard.

These categories will be used by MGB ROs during the regular conduct of TSHES Monitoring.

Simulation activities in relation to the cases on the apprehension, seizure and confiscation of illegally sourced minerals and the use of monitoring and scorecard system were also conducted during the meeting.

Other policies that were discussed are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) MC No. 2018-05, or the Non-coverage of Small-Scale Mining Projects from DENR Memorandum Order No. 2016-01; and the DENR Administrative Order No. 2018-13, or the Lifting of the Moratorium on the Acceptance, Processing and/or Approval of Applications for Exploration Permit under DENR Memorandum Order No. 2016-01.

MGB is an attached agency to the DENR.

Recently, the DENR was told to uphold process of meaningful public consultations as it lifted the moratorium on applications for exploration permit of metallic and non-metallic minerals.

This was according to Bantay Kita, a national coalition advocating for enhanced natural resource governance.

Bantay Kita Coordinator Tina Pimentel said that in light of the lifting of the exploration moratorium, the group urges the MGB to prepare the guidelines for competitive public bidding, with emphasis on transparency and citizen engagement at the soonest.

Exploration will determine an area’s mineral potential. This can guide government in identifying if and how much minerals it is willing to develop.

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