As part of her commitment to keep the country's watersheds off-limits to destructive mining, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez announced on Tuesday that 75 mineral production sharing agreements (MPSA) for mining sites that are within watershed areas face cancellation.
Lopez said show cause orders have been issued to mining companies to allow them to explain why their MPSAs should not be cancelled for threatening watersheds, which are a major source of drinking and recreational water for many communities.
The said MPSA holders have 7 days from receipt of the show cause orders to reply, she said.
Last week, Lopez ordered the closure of 23 mining operations found to have committed serious environmental violations during the industry-wide audit conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) since July last year. Fifteen of these mines are operating within watershed areas.
Of the 75 MPSAs issued show cause orders, 27 are in Luzon, 11 in Visayas and 37 in Mindanao.
Lopez was quick to clarify that the impending cancellation would not result in job losses because "these are non-operating mines."
Lopez said her decision is backed by the provisions of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, which gives the DENR the power to regulate and make decisions pertaining to watersheds.
"This is to show you that whatever dictum I make on watersheds, this is in fact protected by the Mining Act of 1995 which says that we must enhance national growth in a way that effectively safeguards the environment and protects the right of the affected communities," Lopez explained.
The law, she added, provides that the DENR "shall adhere to a sustainable development principle which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs with the view of improving the total quality of life both now and in the future."
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina L. Lopez released on February 2, 2017, the final list of Mining Audit Report.
The list shows 23 mining firms facing closure while five others are facing suspension. Those facing closure are Benguet Corporation in Benguet, Ore Asia Mining and Development Corporation in Bulacan, Benguet CorpNickel Mines,Inc., Eramen Minerals,Inc., Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation and LNL Archipelago Minerals,Inc., in Zambales Province, Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration and DevelopmentCorp., Emir Minerals Corp. and TechIron Mineral Resources,Inc., in Homonhon, Samar.
In Dinagat Islands, there are seven mining companies included in the list. These are the AAMPHILNatural Resources Exploration and Devt. Corp, Kromico,Inc., SinoSteel Philippines, H.Y. MiningCorp.Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation, Wellex MiningCorporation, Libjo MiningCorp.Oriental Vision MiningPhils. Corp.
In Surigao Del Norte, there are also seven mining companies facing closure. They are ADNAMA MiningResources,Inc.., Claver Mineral Development Corp., Platinum Development Corp., CTP Construction and Mining Corp,Carrascal Nickel Corp., Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. and Hinatuan MiningCorporation
The DENR also suspended the operations of five mining companies: Berong Nickel Corp.,Citinickel Mines and Development Corp., Lepanto Consolidated MiningCorp., OceanaGold Phils., and Strong Built Mining Development Corporation.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) conducted the Annual Geosciences Workshop on January 16-20, 2017 at Lima Park Hotel, Malvar, Batangas.
The workshop gathered all geologists from MGB Central and Regional Offices, and focused on the different activities of the Geosciences Division,which include the Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Program, Information, Education and Communication Campaign, Subsidence Hazard Assessment, Groundwater Resource Assessment and Geologic Quadrangle Mapping.
Ms. Lilian A. Rollan, MGB CO Chief Geologist, discussed with the participants some guidelines in accomplishing their targets. MGB Region IV-B Regional Director Samuel T. Paragas also graced the occasion.
MGB Region –III Chief Geologist Noel B. Lacadin , Supervising Geologists Clarissa G. Villanueva, Ma. Lourdes M. Cruz, and Ma. Teresa I. Coching , and Senior Geologist Rowena B. Margallo attended the said workshop.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region III recently deliberated the Annual Programs for CY 2017 of all operating mines in the region.
OIC, Regional Director Lope O. Carino, Jr., together with the Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division discussed with the representatives of mining companies the evaluation and comments of technical working group on their submitted Annual Safety and Health Programs (ASHP) and Annual Social Development and Management Program (ASDMP).
The deliberation of annual programs is in line with Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order No. 2010-21 (Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995) which provides that all operating mining companies and permit holders shall submit AEPEP, ASHP and ASDMP at least 30 calendar days prior to the beginning of every calendar year, for evaluation of MGB Regional Offices.
Companies evaluated were Holcim Philippines, Inc. Bulacan Plant, Republic Cement and Building Materials, Inc.- Bulacan and Norzagaray PLants, Luzon Continental Land Corporation, Eagle Cement Corporation, Eramen Minerals,INc., Lnl Archipelago Minerals, Inc. BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Inc., and Zambales Diversified Metals, Inc.