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DENR issues guidelines on responsible mining

Catherine Talavera – The Philippine Star
May 19, 2022 | 12:00am

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is strengthening measures to protect terrestrial and marine biodiversity in mining operations.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim Sampulna issued administrative Order (DAO) 2022-04, which provides guidelines on responsible mining.

“With this new order, we believe that mining companies will be more mindful of their practices in utilizing the country’s natural and mineral resources,” Sampulna said.

“We have repeatedly mentioned in the past that mineral extracting operations can be done responsibly, that the rich biodiversity within the mine site can be protected. Thus, this order is expected to support our responsible mining initiative,” he said.

The DAO requires mining contractors, permit holders, and permittees to include biodiversity measures in their respective environmental work program, environmental protection and enhancement program, and final mine rehabilitation and/or decommissioning plan.

According to the  DENR,  the biodiversity measures will be integrated in all stages of mining operations, including exploration, development and utilization, closure, decommissioning, and rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, the order also mandates the progressive rehabilitation or temporary revegetation of disturbed areas, to be undertaken at every stage of mining operation to restore mined-out areas and allow regeneration of the biodiversity to preserve “ecosystem goods and services.”

It also prompts mining companies to integrate biodiversity conservation and protection in their Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).

SDMP is the five-year plan of mining contractors and permit holders, which contains plans to support the development and empowerment of host and neighboring communities.

Among the SDMP measures identified by the DAO are the inclusion of biodiversity-friendly enterprises, propagation of native plants, development of green parks, promotion of agroforestry, and other wealth creation projects that will create green jobs to augment livelihood during and after mining.

The DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, and their regional counterparts are also mandated to take part in relevant committees such as the contingent liability and rehabilitation fund steering committee, mine rehabilitation fund committee, and multipartite monitoring team.