Recommendations (Mining)

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Headline Recommendations

  1. Increase the growth of the mining sector by removing redundant approvals and non-performing claims. Exploration and similar permits should be granted transparently at the regional level within 6 weeks and renewed in one day at one-stop shops. Reduce environmental compliance certificate (ECC) processing time. Allow pre-permitting access to potential project lands. MGB should cancel permits after two years of non-performance. MGB should adopt Philippine Mineral Ore Resources Reserve Reporting Code. Develop model best-practice regions.
  2. Work closely with indigenous peoples; develop mining HR skills; monitor legal developments. Since most mines are in ancestral domains, involve IPs as partners from project commencement. Achieve a 50% increase in direct mining and milling costs allocated for community development. Implement release to LGUs of their share of mining taxes paid to the GRP. Improve salaries and practical skills of MGB staff. Develop mining engineering programs at universities. Implement the current Mining Act and avoid arbitrary application of the Writ of Kalikasan. Continue the Minerals Development Council.
  3. Carry out a public information campaign and increase dialogue with concerned groups. Inform the public about responsible mining that minimizes the environmental impact. Find common-ground solutions with LGUs, NGOs, religious leaders, and local communities to issues raised against specific projects. LGUs should not have mining bans against national policy. Encourage downstream processing/manufacturing. Source supplies from local communities. Endorse Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Recommendations (33)

A. Speed up the growth of the mining sector by removing redundant approvals and non-performing claims.

A1. Further streamline the exploration permit approval process. Exploration and similar permits should be grantedtransparently at the regional level within 6 weeks and renewed in one day atone-stop shops. Impose and enforce a deadline at the regional level for EP approvals, with close coordination among agencies. The issuance of EPs and the grant of a mineral agreement for initial exploitation should be reduced from 4 months to 6 weeks. Renewals should take one day, subject to submission of all pertinent requirements needed within 15 days from receipt of a renewed EP. (Immediate action DENR)

A2. At the same time, applicants should be vetted strictly to ensure they have both the required funding and the technical staff to undertake the work. (Immediate action DENR)

A3. Reduce ECC processing time and certificates of non-coverage. Strengthen implementation of DENR environmental responsibilities under the Mining Act for environmental protection, and the enhancement program for progressive rehabilitation and the mine rehabilitation/decommissioning plan for mine closure. (Immediate action DENR)

A4. Allow pre-permitting access by firm to potential project lands to conduct initial geological studies, mapping, soil sampling, and limited testing. Doing this gives the company confidence in raising capital and trains local people in mining-related skills. (Immediate action DENR)

A5. Continue processing of mining applications involved in mining cases or subject toprotests or oppositions, subject to certain conditions. (Immediate action DENR)

A6. MGB should stricly monitor compliance by mining companies with the Mining Act and related departmental orders. MGB should cancel permits after two years of non-performance. Permits specify PhP 500/hectare minimum expenditure. Failure to implement 3-year development program for two consecutive years should be cancellation grounds, as should failure to present proof of FPIC. Strictly implement three letters of notice policy against inactive applicants. There should be a comprehensive field inspection to confirm compliance prior to commissioning a mining project. (Immediate action DENR)

B. Establish regional level one-stop shops to process applications. (Immediate action DENR)

C. Develop model best-practice regions. Look for model regions to showcase best practices for LGUs working with the mining industry. Strengthen mining regulatory oversight in several key regions and encourage development therein of 3-5 world-class mines as showcase for best practices. Their success and economic growth should impress other regions. (Immediate action DENR)

D. MGB should adopt Philippine Mineral Ore Resources Reserve Reporting Code patterned after Australia’s Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) guidelines. (Immediate action DENR)

E. Seek to end LGU mining moratoriums. The private sector should request the Solicitor General to file a case against any LGU that declares mining moratorium. According to a DOJ order, LGUs cannot stop or go against a national policy. (Immediate action DOJ and private sector)

F. Provide LGUs with additional funds for community projects by implementing the simplified joint circular regarding release of mining taxes to LGUs. (Immediate action DOF and DENR)

G. Continue dialogue with the various local government leagues, the religious sector, and non-government organizations to find common-ground solutions to issues being raised against specific mining and exploration projects. (Immediate action LGUs and private sector)

H. As a stakeholder, the industry should actively monitor developments in the Congress and judiciary, such as the Rules of Procedure on Environmental Cases and the Alternative Mining Bill. The industry should present its positions and appear at committee hearings and other public consultations. (Medium-term action private sector)

I. Continue to support revision of the 60-40 equity restriction provision in the Constitution with respect to land ownership and water, forest and mining rights, when an appropriate occasion arises. (Continuing action by private sector)

J. Continue implementation of the MAP. Continue active private sector participation in the MDC. The government needs to be proactive in supporting responsible mining with stakeholders in local communities. (Immediate action DENR and private sector)

K. Government should work on four programs to move mining industry up the ladder of industrialization: (1) promote downstream processing and manufacturing for copper, nickel, gold, and chromite; (2) developcommunity-based supplier industries and services; (3) improve government benefits from mining; and (4) better control exports of small scale mining and unprocessed minerals. (Immediate action DENR, DTI, and NEDA)

L. Community building should commence from the first day a company takes interest in an area for mining. It should inform local people about the company and what it plans to do on their land. Bring IPs into the mining project as partners from day one. (Immediate action private sector)

M. Mining firms should support labor intensive, community-run enterprises such as fish farms and vegetable gardens for the IPs. (Immediate action private sector)

N. Complete the MGB review of regulations (DAO 2000-99) to increase the allocation of direct mining and milling costs for community development from 1% to 1.5%. The DAO also permits the use of these funds for information, education and communication campaigns, and the development of mining and processing technology and geosciences. (Immediate action DENR)

O. The private sector should help build the capacity of IPs. Help them understand and exercise their rights, what their claims are, and how investors should interact with them. (Medium-term action private sector)

P. Increase the budget and technical capacity of the NCIP. (Immediate action DENR, DBM, and Congress)

Q. When resettling people living in an area to be included in mining operations, find a site that allows habitation as close as possible to their traditional lands, without endangering the safety requirements of the mining operation. (Medium-term action private sector)

R. Companies should not pay stipends or occupation fees to local NPA but instead partner with the IP community. (Immediate action private sector)

S. The private sector should work closely with the MDC committee on mining security, the DILG undersecretary for peace and order, and the AFP to establish a joint mining security protocol to guide mining companies in dealing with local security threats and to formulate short and long-term preventive measures that can be implemented by companies. (Immediate action DENR, DILG, DND/AFP, and private sector)

T. Exploration companies should conduct security and social assessments in their areas of operations. Mining security and assessment seminars were organized in most regions in 2009. (Immediate action DENR, DILG with private sector)

U. The mining industry should work closely with the MGB, providing regional offices with appropriate technical as well as financial support (if permitted), including assisting MGB staff to attend industry workshops to increase their skills, without leaving the MGB. (Immediate action DENR and private sector)

V. Geology and mining engineering students following graduation who enter government service should be assigned to work with a local exploration or mining company to gain further practical experience, after which they should be offered sufficient incentives to return to the MGB. (Immediate action DENR and private sector)

W. Government, in partnership with exploration and mining companies, should encourage more students to study subjects needed in the mining community, such as environmental management, social infrastructure management, geology, and community development, including agri-business venture building. (Immediate action DENR, CHED and private sector)

X. Encourage mergers of local mining companies and list more local companies on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). (Action private sector)

Y. Carry out a public information campaign regarding mining and increase dialogue with concerned groups. Inform public about responsible mining that minimizes environmental impact. (Immediate action DENR and private sector)

Z. Support the Mining Museum project in Baguio to establish a museum to educate Filipinos on the importance and uses of mining. Establish smaller museums in other regions where mining is concentrated. (Medium-term action DENR and private sector)

AA. Mining companies in the Philippines should endorse the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Eventually, the Philippines should apply to become an EIT Compliant Country. Mining companies operating in the Philippines, mining associations, and EITI supporting countries should explain the initiative to the Philippine public. (Immediate action private sector)

FGD Participants, Moderator and Secretariat Members
November 20, 2009
Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines