Responsible miners need not fear audit, says MGB chief
The ongoing audit of mining firms in the country is a boon to law-abiding firms especially since the Duterte administration is not entirely antimining and is open to allowing new operations, according to the chief of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
Mario Luis J. Jacinto, who is also Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary, Wednesday said the government would take proactive measures to prevent unintended consequences of mining.
Jacinto was speaking at the Mining Philippines 2016 conference at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City, organized by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP).
“I have always been inclined to believe that responsible mining firms have nothing to fear from the conduct of the audit,” he said.
“I see the audit, in fact, as a blessing in disguise to responsible miners,” he added. “Those who have clearly violated [regulations] are the ones who have to face the sanctions for their irresponsible acts.”
MGB director Jacinto said mining should be allowed provided that a project met all four of the following criteria—the mine must be technically feasible, environmentally compliant, socially acceptable and financially viable.
COMP president Benjamin Philip G. Romualdez reiterated that Jacinto’s appointment was a positive sign for the mining industry. Romualdez described Jacinto, who had worked with various mining companies as a consultant, as an ally of the industry.
“We are not afraid of the ongoing audit,” Romualdez said. “We welcome this purging of illegal and noncompliant mining operations.”
The COMP leader also said that the mining industry does not need new laws, but instead needs strict and fair enforcement of a stable policy regime.
“As a highly regulated industry, we seriously follow the Mining Act and all regulatory rules,” Romualdez said. “But no one has a monopoly of the environment.”
He was apparently referring to Environment Secretary Regina Lopez, a staunch antimining advocate who is now overseeing the regulation of the industry.
“We wholeheartedly accept this responsibility and will fight for our industry,” Romualdez said.
“Notwithstanding the ongoing demolition campaign that is maliciously maligning the true nature of legitimate mining, we will not allow anyone, to destroy our industry from within or without,” he said. “And we will all do this under the rule of law.”
Romualdez appeal to President Duterte to immediately convene a meeting with industry representatives for constructive consultations on how to put a balance to the complex issues of mining “so that policies moving forward will be based on science and hard facts and not on mere slogans of hardline ideology.”
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