Members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) has vowed to further strengthen their Social Development Management Program (SDMP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to show that ‘responsible mining’ goes beyond mere compliance to mining laws and environmental regulations.
COMP Executive Director Ronald Recidoro said that moving forward, the aim of the miners is “not just to follow the law, but to do better”.
This, as COMP work on some changes in response to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for the industry to be much more responsible miners.
“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.
Unlike other industries, mining companies are mandated to allot 1.5 percent of its operating cost to their SDMP which is meant to benefit their host communities.
This is on top of the Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund (CLRF) set aside for payment of whatever damages the mining activity 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 the mining companies to address other environmental protection measures.
Apart from this, COMP will also continuously support and comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the country, which institutionalized transparency 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 further said.
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 Mining Association of Canada (MAC) flew in the country to particularly discuss Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative in the conference.
Recidoro said COMP will take a serious look at the mining standards of other countries, such as the TSM initiative of the MAC, 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.
COMP also recently formed an Oversight Committee with powers to investigate and recommend action on complaints against mining operations, the objective of policing its own ranks and bringing up its own standards for membership participation.