MANILA, Philippines – Top mining firms Philex Mining Corporation, Atlas Mining, Benguet Corporation, and Nickel Asia agreed to a new monitoring program that will check their environmental footprint in exercising their business operations.
The companies signed a memorandum of understanding with the eco-advocacy group, Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST) at the recently concluded Mining Philippines 2014 Conference and Exhibition.
“It’s a big step toward the right direction,” PBEST convenor CP David, also the project lead for the Environmental Performance Tracking Program (EPTP), said. “That these companies are willing to undergo objective scrutiny from an independent third party is a sign of goodwill. It’s a sign of being good corporate citizens,” David added.
The EPTP will track of a company’s compliance to the environment provisions of the Mining Act through monitoring tools validated by a team of experts from PBEST.
The scorecard will also measure compliance and matching financial commitment.
“There’s no question that mining companies get a lot of negative publicity from the media,” David said and added, “this kind of cooperation is an opportunity for them to disprove those claims in a highly credible manner.”
The scorecard will also instead highlight a company’s best practices, including areas where its performance is beyond compliance.
PBEST said a developmental approach is more effective in building trust and understanding among stakeholders so that doable and long-term programs are actualized.
However, David clarified the scorecard is not meant to pit companies against each other since the conditions on the ground vary among mine sites.
“It will not be a qualitative assessment since the basis for the scorecard is pretty straightforward – the Mining Act and its accompanying IRR (implementing rules and regulations),” he said.
The participation is also voluntary and the findings are confidential, David added.
Also present in the signing were Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) chairman Artemio Disini.
Early this year, business players in the mining industry asked President Benigno Aquino III to certify as urgent the new mining reform bill that will outline the revenue-sharing arrangement between the government and the private sector.
“For the Philippine mining industry to realize the potential enormous wealth creation from its mineral resource base, a revised and internationally-competitive revenue sharing mechanism needs to be enacted quickly and certified as urgent by President Aquino,” according to a position paper supported by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Philippine Mining and Exploration Association. – Rappler.com
Benguet gold and copper mines image from Shutterstock
PBEST logo from their website
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