By Madelaine B. Miraflor
While Malacañang seems to be buying its time to decide on the appeal of mining firms recommended for closure and suspension, it proceeded to give the go signal for this year’s Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA).
A statement showed on Wednesday that 22 mining companies all over the Philippines have qualified for PMIEA this year for their efforts to achieve environmentally and socially responsible surface mining and mineral processing operations.
Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) President Louie Sarmiento said the PMIEA Selection Committee (SC) already came up with a set of names, including large-scale mining firms, that have qualified to win this year’s PMIEA.
According to him, the SC, together with the PMIEA Secretariat headed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), have already concluded the field validation on the accomplishments of PMIEA nominees a few weeks ago and have subsequently shortlisted them.
“For this year, out of the 32 mining firms who submitted their entries, there are 22 who qualified, as compared to last year when there was only 24 who submitted their entries and only 20 who was validated and qualified,” Sarmiento said.
Some of the nominees are Filminera Resources Corporation, SR Metals, Inc., Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp., Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corp., Cagdianao Mining Corp., Carmen Copper Corp., OceanaGold Philippines, Inc., Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp., Coral Bay Nickel Corp., Eagle Cement Corp., Holcim Mining and Development Corp., Apo Land and Quarry Operation, Holcim Mining and Development Corp.-Davao, Agata Mining Ventures, Inc., Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corp., Northern Cement Corp., among others.
Sarmiento said the list of winners for this year’s PMIEA has already been endorsed to President Rodrigo Duterte.
It was last September when the PMIEA SC conducted its first meeting to deliberate the initial ratings of the mining companies nominated by the different MGB Regional Offices under the four categories: Surface Mining Operation, Quarry Operation, Mineral Exploration and Mineral Processing. Then in October, the final field validation took place.
The PMIEA was established under Executive Order No. 399 on February 03, 1997 in compliance with the policy that mineral exploration activities and mining operations shall not only be pro-environment but also pro-people.
Corollary to this, the Mining Forest Program, established by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order No. 22, Series of 1989 through the National Executive Committee, will also select the Best Mining Forest based on the set criteria and rating system.
Winners of the Safest Mines Awards and Best Mines Personalities will likewise be awarded during the event.
PMIEA will be part of the 64th Annual National Mine Safety and Safety Conference (ANMSEC), which will be hosted by PMSEA — the country’s forerunner in the promotion of occupational safety and health, sound environmental management and social responsibility in the minerals industry.
To be held on November 21 to 24 in Baguio, ANMSEC will be attended by both DENR officials and industry delegates.
“The 64th annual national mine safety and environment conference again brings together advocates of responsible mining within and outside the mining communities where we operate. This includes not only the mining companies but also our regulators, suppliers, academe services contractors and local government units and communities,” Sarmiento said.
The theme for this year’s ANMSEC is “Responsible Mining… In the Hearts and Minds of Filipinos.”
The culminating activity in the celebration of ANMSEC is the Testimonial Dinner and Annual Awards Night.
At least 27 more mining companies are still hoping to get a decision from the government about the appeals they have made to counter the suspension and closure orders imposed to them by former Environment Chief Regina Paz Lopez at the start of the year.
This, after listed mining company Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. became the first fortunate mining firm to get a resolution from Malacañang on its appeal about the suspension order it received from the DENR in February.
To be exact, Lopez would have wanted to shutdown and suspend a total of 28 mining operations in the country, 13 of which filed a motion for reconsideration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) while 15 miners made an appeal to the Office of the President (OP).
And although some of these mining firms remained operational despite the orders, some actually voluntarily stopped their operations.