Gov’t asked to tighten rules on small-scale mining
A group of large-scale miners called on the government to “do more” in terms of regulating small-scale mining following the recent destruction caused by this activity especially in the Cordillera region.
At the opening of the Mining Philippine Conference and Exhibit yesterday, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) chair and Nickel Asia Corp. president and CEO Gerard H. Brimo said the government must address pocket mining issues as these had been heavily influencing the public’s perception of the entire mining industry.
“It’s always been a frustration on our part. We have always been heavily regulated and scrutinized, but when there is an incident… it affects the image of the industry,” he said.
In his welcome remarks, Brimo noted the lack of distinction between small-scale and large-scale mines. He added that small-scale mining “has to be done legally and with proper supervision.”
“As we grieve for the communities affected, we must go on record that we are not connected to small-scale activities in any way,” he said.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who was represented by Undersecretary Analiza Teh, was supposed to be the keynote speaker of the event. Brimo said the secretary had to cancel in light of the destruction caused by Typhoon “Ompong” in various regions.
In his speech delivered by Teh, Cimatu said mining companies should “reinvent” their operations to usher in a new era of doing mining in the country.
“There is a need to reinvent the mining sector. Reinvent means there is a need to change something so much that it appears something new… The industry needs to look like entirely new,” he said.
Government data showed that mining companies had committed as of June some P40 billion to implement sustainable development and environmental protection/rehabilitation programs this year.
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