AMID suspension of some mining firms the last three months, private mining organizations still have positive outlook for the industry.
According to a management consultancy firm that specializes in mining, the sector will always remain a major pillar of the Philippine economy.
“Since the dawn of time, we have been mining. Mining is not just metallic, it also includes non-metallic and energy,” President and CEO of Amdgy Consultancy Deogracias Contreras pointed out in a recent roundtable discussion. He also cited the country’s increasing need for both metallic and non-metallic resources to keep the economy moving forward.
The Philippines is one of richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources. However, the government has yet to harness the full potential of these resources – both metallic and non-metallic – which at current market prices is estimated at P73.47 trillion.
On the other hand, Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) President Louie Sarmiento said that safety remained within mining concession areas and their host communities remained to be the top priority for large scale mining companies.
“They are governed by very strict standards,” Sarmiento said, adding that large scale miners have to meet international standards.
PMSEA, as mandated by Presidential Order No.399, is an award-giving body that recognizes mining companies with exemplary performance in environmental management, safety and health, and social development and management programs.
The awards included the 2015 Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award, the highest award conferred to mining companies as evaluated by an eight-member selection committee from the government and the private sector.
Asked whether PMSEA awardees will be able to pass the ongoing mine audit, Sarmiento said that they are confident with their selection of winners.
“It is a very prestigious award-giving body and we don’t want it tainted with any irregularities,” Sarmiento said. “However, we have to qualify the suspension. Because, like in any other audit, there are certain levels of conformity, audit period, and criteria to be followed.”
He stressed that PMSEA, the forerunner in the promotion of occupational safety and health, sound environmental management and social responsibility in the minerals industry, remains committed to its “responsible mining” mantra.
Meanwhile, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) President Benjamin Philip Romualdez reiterated the industry’s commitment to President Duterte’s development agenda.
“We promise the President that we will operate strictly under the rule of law. All who cannot comply must get out. Clean up or get out. The business of mining is about our environment. We are committed … to growth that will directly improve the lives of thousands of families in our communities,” Romualdez said.