By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 12, 2016 - 12:00am
Newly-installed Environment Secretary Gina Lopez yesterday issued her first memorandum order which covers the extensive audit of all mines as well as the moratorium on new mining projects. Facebook.com/Lopez.Regina
MANILA, Philippines - Newly-installed Environment Secretary Gina Lopez yesterday issued her first memorandum order which covers the extensive audit of all mines as well as the moratorium on new mining projects.
Based on memorandum 2016-01, all operating and suspended mines will be subject to an audit to determine the adequacy and efficiency of the environmental protection measures, identify gaps in protection measures and determine appropriate penalties in case of violations.
The moratorium, on the other hand, shall cover the acceptance, processing and approval of applications and projects for all metallic and non-metallic minerals.
Mining firms were given one month to comply with the order. Failure to do so will result in the suspension of operations.
The new administration remains firm in their stand to suspend mining firms that fail to secure international certification on safety standards in a bid to put an end to irresponsible mining in the Philippines.
The audit will be undertaken in accordance with the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Department Administrative Order 2015-07 on securing the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 certification.
The deadline for securing the ISO certification was originally set last April. Failure to secure or maintain the ISO 14001 certification will lead to suspension of the environmental compliance certificate and non-issuance of ore transport permit.
DAO 2015-07 “institutionalizes an environmental management system that ensures the adherence of local mining operations to international standards, particularly the ISO 14001 certification, as a measure of responsible mining in the country.
“ISO 14001 certification ensures that appropriate measures are put in place to achieve minimal negative impacts of mining on the environment.”
Just last week, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) announced that most of its member companies are ISO-certified.
These include Benguet Corp., Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co., Philex Mining, OceanaGold Phils., Rio Tuba Nickel Mines, Filminera Resources, Carmen Copper, Greenstone Resources, Hinatuan Mining, MarcVentures Mining & Dev. Corp., Taganito Mining, LNL Archipelago Minerals, CTP Construction & Mining, Philsaga Mining and Platinum Group Metals Corp.
Among those whose applications are still pending are Berong Nickel Corp., Apex Mining Co. Minimax Mineral Explo and Pacific Nickel Phils.