Mining companies will work on moving beyond compliance with laws and regulations in a bid to become more responsible partners of host communities and the government, an industry official said on Thursday.
Ronald Recidoro, executive director of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, said the aim was “not just to follow the law but to do better” given pressure from no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We will fine-tune our Social Development Management Program (SDMP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to encompass not just environmental protection and social development, but also to address climate change resiliency and adaptation. This is an imperative,” Recidoro said.
“We will also step up engagements with developmental experts and agencies to make the SDMP an enterprise model to effectively fight poverty,” he added.
Mining companies are mandated to allot 1.5 percent of their operating cost to SDMP, which is on top of the Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund (CLRF) that is aside for the payment of whatever damages that mining activities may cause and for the progressive rehabilitation of mined out or affected areas.
Several other environmental funds are also required to be put up by mining companies to address other environmental protection measures.
Recidoro said that COMP would also continuously support and comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) that institutionalized openness in the areas of revenue sharing and taxation.
“In the next few weeks, you will be seeing a reinvigorated Chamber of Mines, starting with a new Board of Trustees that will be armed with a fresh mandate. We will be more aggressive in communicating our environmental protection and social development activities,” Recidoro said.
“More importantly, we will increase our engagements with government and other key stakeholders, to hear their position and consider them in our advocacies,” he added.
The three-day Mining Philippines 2017 International Conference and Exhibition concluded on Thursday, bringing together the country’s major mining players, investors, and experts in the mineral sector.
“We are very happy with how Mining Philippines turned out this year, where we saw a marked increase in the number of exhibitors and delegates attending the conference,” Recidoro said.
A representative from that Mining Association of Canada (MAC) flew in to particularly discuss their Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative.
Recidoro said COMP will take a serious look at the mining standards of other countries, such as MAC’s TSM initiative, and study how these may be institutionalized for members.
“Adopting the TSM protocols on indigenous peoples and community outreach, emissions and tailings management, biodiversity conservation, and safety and health, will have positive impacts on mining operations, environmental protection, and social development,” he added.
The chamber also recently formed an oversight committee with powers to investigate and recommend action on complaints against mining operations, with the objective of policing its own ranks and bringing up its own standards for membership participation.