Silangan Mindanao Mining Corp. (SMMCI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philex Mining recently obtained its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001: 2004 Certification for its pre-mining development activities, allow it to pursue further its exploration activities, the company said in a statement.
SMMCI has been pursuing the development of its Boyongan project in Surigao del Norte. To date, the mining company has been focusing on completing requirements for its feasibility study.
“The ISO certification is again a reaffirmation of our advocacy for responsible mining, because we have raised the bar as our Padcal ISO certification is suited for an operating mine while that of Silangan is for the exploration stage, which is a stage before actual operations,” said Eulalio B. Austin, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Philex Mining Corp., and chairman of SMMCI.
Austin added that the certificate affirms SMMCI’s adherence to processes that comply with strict and internationally recognized Environmental Management System in all stages of project development.
“This follows Philex Mining’s own Integrated Management System (IMS) Certification, ISO 12001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:2007 for environmental and safety management systems, respectively, obtained from TUV Rheiland in April 2015 and reflects the company’s overall commitment to environmentally-safety procedures across all its operations and exploration projects,” he added.
Meanwhile, Yulo Perez, president and chief executive officer of SMMCI said that this is proof of Silangan’s hard work in establishing the culture of responsible mining.
“This certification is a result of an actual audit done by an internationally accredited independent group. We are probably the first mining company who got ISO 14001 certification prior to the actual mining,” Perez said.
Perez also clarified that the certificate was in compliance with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2015-07, which required mining companies to secure ISO 14001 Certificate to enforce environmental compliance and promote responsible and sustainable mining.
“We will continue to proactively develop the culture of responsible mining as we advance the project,” he added.
For his part, Atty. Michael Toledo, Philex Mining’s senior vice resident for Public and Regulatory Affairs and head of the MVP Group Media Bureau, said the certifications granted and the accolades won by Philex and SMMCI “make it clear that responsible mining is possible in the country.”
Just last year, SMMCI was awarded the 2015 Presidential Mineral Industry and Environmental Award by President Benigno Aquino 3rd for the company’s outstanding levels of dedication, initiative and innovation in the pursuit of excellence in environmental management through mining exploration, and other related activities.
SMMCI also bagged the Safest Mines Award and Best Mining Forest 1st runner-up last November 20 at the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association Conference in Baguio City.
The Silangan project is located in Surigao del Norte, at the northern part of Mindanao. It combines the development of Boyongan and Bayugo deposits, which are comprised of gold, copper, and silver.
Philex had already invested more than P13 billion in the project as of the end of 2014 for the initial exploration and related works on the site. This is on top of the estimated commercial-operations project cost of about $1.2 billion.
Philex earlier said that it is looking at 2018 or early 2019 for the commencement of initial ore production at Silangan project, which is the company’s next big prospective mine.
Once operational, Silangan mine has a projected life of 30 years for the first phase. The first five years is forecast to produce 5-7 million MT of ore annually, ramping up to an annual tonnage of 10 million MT.