DENR sets audit of all existing mine sites
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources formalized an audit of existing mines and suspended the approval for new ones while the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said some more of its members were now fully compliant with international standards.
Environment Secretary Regina Lopez issued Memorandum order No. 2016-01 dated July 8, which is in effect “until formally terminated.”
Lopez cited three reasons why mines that were already operating should undergo an audit. First, to determine the adequacy and efficiency of the environmental protection measures of each mining operation. Second, to identify gaps in environmental protection measures. And third, to determine the appropriate penalty or penalties in case of violations of the mining and environmental laws.
Aside from the provisions of the mining law, the audit will be done pursuant to Executive Order No. 79 that President Aquino issued in 2012.
The COMP had described EO 79, which drew the boundaries on areas where no new applications for mining would be allowed, as a “flawed policy.”
The audit of mines would also be based on a DENR administrative order that required mines to be fully compliant with ISO 14001, which maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system.
Last week, the COMP said 13 of its 21 members were already fully compliant with ISO 14001.
Monday, the group said four more members have been ISO 14001-certified. These included LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. in Central Luzon, and CTP Construction and Mining Corp., Platinum Group Metals Corp. and Philsaga Mining Corp. in the Caraga region.
Also last week, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau ordered the immediate suspension of the operations of Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. (ZDMC) and Benguetcorp Nickel Mines Inc. (BNMI) — both operating in Zambales.
BNMI said in a statement that it would “immediately request a reconsideration of the suspension order, since its mining operation is fully compliant with the regulatory requirements and environmental standards of the government and its host communities.”
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