The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered the tightening of procedures to safeguard terrestrial and marine biodiversity in mining operations.
A press statement released by the environment department on Tuesday said acting Sec. Jim O. Sampulna signed DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2022-04, or the “Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Protection in Mining Operations,” which intends to provide guidelines on responsible mining to ensure the protection and mitigation of the negative effects of the activities to biodiversity.
In addition, Sampulna stressed that the order, which applies to all phases of on-shore and off-shore mining operations, will enhance the implementation of responsible mining practices.
“With this new order, we believe that mining companies will be more mindful of their practices in utilizing the country’s natural and mineral resources,” he pointed out in the statement.
“We have repeatedly mentioned in the past that mineral extracting operations can be done responsibly, that the rich biodiversity within the mine site can be protected. Thus, this order is expected to support our responsible mining initiative,” he added.
DAO 2022-04 mandates that mining contractors, permit holders, and permittees incorporate biodiversity measures into their respective Environmental Work Program, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program, Final Mine Rehabilitation and/or Decommissioning Plan.
These biodiversity measures will be integrated in all stages of mining operations, including exploration, development and utilization, closure, decommissioning, and rehabilitation.
The directive also requires progressive rehabilitation, or temporary revegetation of disturbed areas, to be carried out at each stage of mining operations in order to rehabilitate mined-out regions and permit the regeneration of biodiversity in order to protect “ecosystem goods and services.”
The order, which was issued on April 21, also requires mining corporations to incorporate biodiversity conservation and protection into their Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).
SDMP is the five-year plan of mining contractors and permit holders, which contains plans to support the development and empowerment of host and neighboring communities.
DAO 2022-04 identified various SDMP measures such as “inclusion of biodiversity-friendly enterprises, propagation of native plants, development of green parks, promotion of agroforestry, and other wealth creation projects that would create green jobs to augment livelihood during and after mining.”
The BMB, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau and its regional counterparts, are also mandated to take part in relevant committees such as the contingent liability and rehabilitation fund steering committee, mine rehabilitation fund committee, and multipartite monitoring team.