Mining industry environmental compliance report due next year

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THE REPORT of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) on large-scale metallic mines will likely be made available to the public by the second quarter of next year, and will indicate the failure of some companies to comply with environmental rules according to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.

Mr. Dominguez, who co-chairs the MICC with Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, said the report is targeted for completion by May 2022 and will be released to the public in the second quarter of that year. It will contain the results of the two-phase audit of the industry along with the review of mines in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The report should be in such a form that can be used by the ordinary reader and the public, and that it be made widely available, not only to government officials, the legislature, maybe even in the judiciary, but also to the public in general,” he said in a statement Tuesday, which outlined his remarks during a Sept. 17 meeting of the council.

So far, the review has covered 44 large-scale metallic mines in which a “majority” registered passing marks on legal and technical matters, “but required major reforms in the environmental, social and economic aspects of their operations.”

Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Wilfredo G. Moncano said the audit turned up “marked improvements” after the Environment department issued administrative orders aimed at addressing the deficiencies of the sector.

Executive Order (EO) No. 79 issued in 2012 created the MICC to audit mining companies based on the economic, sociocultural, technical, environmental and legal aspects of their operations, as well as to review current laws and regulations.

“This is the only administration that has actually done a serious review of the mining operations as mandated by the EO,” Mr. Dominguez said.

He said making the report available to the public will enhance trust and confidence in the government. It will also showcase the capacity of Philippine experts to conduct mining audits. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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