DENR, mining industry forge accord on policy reforms

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the mining industry have forged a landmark agreement to pursue policy reforms that will make the local mining industry more sustainable, responsible, transparent, and attractive to investors.

Among the salient points of the joint declaration are the commitment to sustainable and responsible mining practices and the enhancement of regulatory frameworks to protect biodiversity and the rights of local communities in mining areas.

Mining companies have committed to using the most efficient technologies for a “judicious extraction and optimum utilization” of mineral resources, upholding the ecological integrity of mining sites and safeguarding public welfare.

Also, the mining sector pledged to remit to the government the full and correct taxes, royalties, and fees required for the exploration, development, and use of the country’s mineral resources.

Strategic support

The DENR, for its part, has committed to encourage investments in mineral processing by providing incentives and strategic support. The agency will also streamline the process of evaluating and issuing mineral agreements to attract more investments in the sector.

READ: Big push for sustainable mining

Specifically, the DENR will develop parallel processing applications with other government agencies; explore the possibility of honoring indigenous peoples- initiated free, prior, and informed consent; craft mining project prospectus and guide the sector on lands suitable for exploration.

The mining industry— represented by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and the Philippine Nickel Industry Association—also agreed to establish an ethics committee that will oversee the environmental, social, and governance performance of industry players.

Joint monitoring

The DENR and the mining sector also agreed to establish a joint monitoring and evaluation mechanism to monitor and evaluate the impact of mining activities on the environment and the socioeconomic conditions of affected communities.

The mining companies likewise agreed to the proposal of the DENR to assign personnel to every mining project to help firms comply with rules and guidelines.

The DENR will also coordinate with other government agencies to address long-standing industry concerns such as the levying of a fixed royalty rate for IPs and the inclusion of a mining representative in the Mining Industry Coordinating Council.

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