MANILA, Philippines – The review of the 28 mines facing closure or suspension will kick off on Monday, March 6, according to the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC).
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who co-chairs the MICC, announced on Friday, March 3, that the 3-month review would start with the signing of the guidelines for the conduct of an objective, fact-finding, and science-based review of the performance of the 28 mining companies.
“The review shall initially cover the 28 mines that were recommended for closure and suspension. The review will be carried out by the Technical Review Team and will cover technical, legal, social, environmental, and economic aspects of mining operations with respect to the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources),” he said.
The MICC held its 25th meeting on Friday. It was also their second meeting since the DENR announced the closure of 23 mines and the suspension of 5 others early February.
The MICC’s co-chair, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez did not attend the meeting and was represented by DENR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Maria Paz Luna.
Lopez’s confirmation hearing as secretary was scheduled for Wednesday this week but was post-poned due to the shake-up at the Senates.
The technical working group of the MICC would form an ad hoc review management unit and 5 technical review teams.
They will consist of technical experts who would be independent and have no known conflict of interest with the mining sector or any anti-mining non-governmental organization.
Dominguez said that an estimated budget of P50 million would be requested from contingency funds of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the conduct of the review.
The review, he added, would use existing reports, such as audit reports or checklists prepared and developed by the DENR audit team and technical review committee.
These would include multi-partite monitoring team reports, company quarterly reports submitted to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and the minutes of the exit conference.
The DENR will also provide the documents and data during the review. Ocular inspections would be conducted if deemed necessary and if funds permit, Dominguez said.
He said the review would also take into account the lack of data or information from the current reports.
The mining industry had protested Lopez’s cancellation of 75 mineral production sharing agreements in watersheds around the Philippines. President Duterte allowed the review.
Dominguez said the MICC would submit the findings of the review to Malacañang, which will have the final say on the suspension and closure orders issued by the DENR. – Rappler.com
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