14 mining firms pass government’s 2nd industry audit
The interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) gave no failing marks to mining firms covered by its second round of audit, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) confirmed.
In a phone interview, Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones said that the findings of the audit were presented to the agency last week, following delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
An official from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) who is familiar with the matter said the 17 mining operations that were covered by the review garnered an average score of two, meaning they may only need to implement minor reforms.
17 mine sites
The audits were done on a per-MPSA (mineral production sharing agreement) basis. This was why only 14 mining companies were involved although 17 mining operations were covered by the audit.
Based on the MICC’s assessment—co-chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu—the companies were evaluated in terms of the legal, technical, environmental, social and economic considerations.
A point system was created where three is the highest, two is given to those who need minor reforms, one for those needing major reforms, and zero is for those that face closure.
Companies that passed the audit are Cagdianao Mining Corp., Century Peak Corp., Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp., Techiron Resources Inc., Greenstone Resources Corp., SR Metals Inc., Philsaga Mining Corp., Agata Mining Ventures Inc., TMC-Tribal Mining Corp., Filminera Resources Corp., Philex Mining Corp., FCF Minerals Corp., Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp., Platinum Group Metals Corp., Taganito Mining Corp., Pacific Nickel Philippines Inc. and Apex Mining Corp.
The audit yielded some findings and recommendations, including the need for DENR to adopt international standards and improve its metrics to measure the miners’ performance, although specifics have yet to be laid down.
Since President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 130 that lifted the moratorium on the issuance of new mining permits, documents from MGB’s website showed that the bureau had denied eight MPSAs applications as of June and had not approved any new mining application yet.
The EO’s implementing rules and regulations will take effect on Aug. 23.
MICC’s audit review that started in 2018 covered 26 mines that were suspended by the late Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez. Of these operations, 17 passed and were eventually subjected to a second review.
The interagency council is set to begin its third round of audits sometime next year and will cover quarry operations and four mines within the Bangsamoro region.
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