In celebrating the Philippine Environment Month, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) have set up a nationwide simultaneous Photo Exhibit on Mine Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation. It showcases the activities and programs being done by mining and exploration projects in the region in protection of the environment.
The exhibit is open to the general public at the former Office of the DENR-CAR building along 80 Diego Silang St., Baguio City, from 8:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon until the first week of July.
Responsible mining practices in terms of environmental protection and enhancement programs being done will help eliminate stakeholders’ perception that mining is a totally destructive industry. Last year, mining companies in the region allocated 372,994,538.50 pesos for their Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program.
Under Republic Act No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, mine rehabilitation is required of every mining project in every stage of the operations, such as exploration stage; mining construction and development; production stage; and, mine closure. Non-operational mines that are under care and maintenance program are not spared by law to do environmental protection and mine rehabilitation within their mine areas.
In 2007, the National Program Support for Environment and Natural Resources Management Project (NPS–ENRMP) was launched, a World Bank Project that provided support to the DENR in terms of improving its efficiency and effectiveness in its service delivery. One of the priorities of NPS–ENRMP is the implementation of interim risk remedial measures related to abandoned mines and preparation of comprehensive mine rehabilitation and remediation plans for priority abandoned mine sites.
With this program, the government started on rehabilitating the abandoned mines in our country in support to our continuing advocacy of responsible mining industry. In the region, the MGB regional office completed the construction of a slope protection/slope stabilization project along the Bued River at the former Black Mountain, Inc. (BMI) minesite along Kennon Road, Barangay Camp 4, in Tuba, Benguet last month.
On the other hand, Small Scale Gold Mining operations within the Provinces of Benguet, Abra, Kalinga and Apayao flourish as metal prices in the world market started to shoot up in 2004. Most of these small scale mining operations are non- mining permit holders thus they have no environmental protection and rehabilitation programs to speak of.
On July 6, 2012, President Aquino issued Executive Order (EO) No. 79, Institutionalizing and Implementing Reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector Providing Policies and Guidelines to Ensure Environmental Protection and Responsible Mining in the Utilization of Mineral Resources. This covers small scale mining operations with revised implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 7076, or the People’s Small Scale Mining Act of 1991, under Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2015-03.
The MGB under the DENR is the government regulating body on mining. In order to properly implement its mandate, it partners with the Environmental Management Bureau, the Department of the Interior Local Government – Local Government Units, the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board and the Philippine National Police in implementing the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 in terms of permit issuances, environmental protection and regulation of small scale mining operations. –ANRamos (MGB-CAR Release)-