Mining has always been a business full of risks. A mine may not yield enough resources to maintain a business, malpractice and carelessness can lead to mines collapsing or causing landslides and accidents. And one of the biggest impacts the mining industry has had on the country is on the environment.
For the longest of times, indigenous and environmental groups have pushed strongly for a change in the way mining corporations run their business. It wasn’t until around 2016 that real changes have started happening both from the government’s stance on the issue and from the mining companies themselves, and early 2018 saw the mining industry making promises to adhere to more responsible and environmentally safe mining.This is important not just to the environment but to the economy. The Philippines is the world’s biggest supplier of nickel ore, copper and gold. Safe and responsible mining will not only ensure the survival of nature but of the business itself. For irresponsible and destructive mining will only lead to self-sabotage. Responsible mining benefits everyone in the long run.During the 65th Annual Mine Safety and Environment Conference by the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) late November of 2018, PMSEA president Walter Brown expressed the Association’s goals to increase efforts in creating a better and more environmental mining industry.Various mining companies have CSR programs focusing on preserving and protecting the environment.Companies like Apex Mining Co., Inc. and the Philex Mining Corporation take care of the surrounding environment where they operate. In addition to fully complying with the government’s environmental rules and regulations, mining companies also partake in Tree Planting and Reforestation Projects.
These mining companies also conduct regular monitoring and maintenance on its tailings embankment facility in accordance with the government’s standards and to ensure that it has no adverse effects on nearby communities or any local body of water. Philex Mining also regularly monitors the air and water quality of areas they operate in to ensure that they are doing the least amount of harm possible to the environment.The Philex Mining Corporation, in particular, have reforested more than 2,800 hectares of the Padcal Mine with some eight million trees with a survival rate of 90%. They also have the Bulawan Project, where they were able to reforest 26.42 hectares with total dispersal of 23,811 Mangium seedlings. They aim to minimize their company’s adverse environmental impact, to comply with the appropriate legislations and requirements, and to promote environmental awareness.Furthermore, Filminera Resources Corp. and Phil Gold Processing & Refining Corp are both part of the Masbate Gold Project (MGP), which helped the town of Aroroy, Masbate grow into a socio-economically successful town. The MGP created over 1,600 jobs and embarked on a mangrove reforestation project in eight coastal barangays of Aroroy town with the help of the locals.Nickel Asia Corporation, the Philippines’ largest producer of lateritic nickel ore and one of the largest mining corporations in the world, have an Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP) for every mining site they own and use.The EPEPs goals include reforestation and rehabilitation of mine disturbed areas, construction and/or maintenance of environmental facilities, solid and hazardous waste management, air and water quality monitoring and preservation of downstream water quality.
Plenty of other mining companies have similar projects, helping build communities and rebuild natural sectors in and around where they operate. Responsible mining might as well be the hottest trend in the mining industry and is looking to continue to be the standard throughout the country.
By Kyle Gabrielle Ureta