The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) is claiming that 14 out of its 22 members already ISO certified, which Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez cited as a benchmark to responsible mining.
The rest of the members are in the process of securing an ISO 14001 certificate, In a statement, said May Anne Cacdac, COMP spokesperson.
“We here at the Chamber commend our responsible members and commit to continue our responsible ways until all our member companies have fully complied with ISO 14001,” Cacdac said. “Change is here through responsible mining.”
The mining lobby issued the statement in response to the challenge by the DENR secretary to prove mining companies deserve to continue operating in country.
Lopez earlier said that the DENR will conduct an audit of all mining operations as part of the process to weed out illegal and irresponsible miners. The assessment will focus on whether mining is safe for the country and will take a month to complete.
“ISO 14001 is just another way of saying responsible mining. If you’re really responsible, like really responsible, then you have to have the highest standards and the standard we want for our beloved country is ISO 14001,” she said.
Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. was the first to take on the challenge, issuing a statement on Wednesday, saying that the company has been ISO-compliant even before the Duterte administration came into office.
Philex obtained its IMS Certification from TUV Rheinland as early as April 2015, while Silangan was recently awarded its ISO 14001 Certification last June.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno said that 70 percent of the 42 operating mines in the Philippines have yet to secure an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 certification.
Established in 1996, the ISO 14001 EMS is a systematic framework to manage the immediate and long-term environmental impact of an organization’s products, services and processes.
The requirement is mandated under DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2015-07 signed by then Environment Secretary Ramon Paje early last year upon the recommendation of the MGB and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).
DAO 2015-07 institutionalizes an environmental management system that ensures local mining operations adhere to international standards, particularly ISO 14001, as a measure of responsible mining.
It will ensure appropriate measures are in place to achieve minimal negative impact of mining on the environment, Jasareno said.
Executive Order No. 79 also guarantees the compliance of mining contractors with applicable mining and environmental laws, regulations, and requirements in mining operations while gearing towards growth.
The DAO covers all operating mines with valid and existing Mineral Agreement (MA) and Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).
The ISO certified miners include Benguet Corp., Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co., Philex Mining Corp., OceanaGold Phils. Inc., Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., Rio Tuba Nickel Mines Corp., Filminera Resources Corp., Carmen Copper Corp., Cagdianao Mining Corp., Greenstone Resources Corp., Hinatuan Mining Corp. (Tagana-an), MarcVentures Mining & Dev. Corp., and Taganito Mining Corp.
COMP members that requested for an extension of the compliance were LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc., Berong Nickel Corp., Apex Mining Co. Inc., TVI Res. Dev. Inc./Minimax Mineral Explo. Corp., CTP Contruction & Mining Corp. (Adlay and Dahican), Pacific Nickel Phils. Inc., Platinum Group Metals Corp., and Philsaga Mining Corp.
Jasareno noted these companies requested for an extension beyond the April 30 deadline, noting that the application process usually takes at least a year to complete.