PHILEX ACHIEVES DOUBLE ITS 2017 REFO-PROGRAM TARGET   144,714 trees, other floras planted in 110 hectares of land in Tuba, Itogon

PHILEX ACHIEVES DOUBLE ITS 2017 REFO-PROGRAM TARGET 144,714 trees, other floras planted in 110 hectares of land in Tuba, Itogon

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On the way to tree planting: Philex employees doing their share in environmental protection

TUBA, Benguet – Philex Mining Corp. had more than double the area it had targeted for reforestation in 2017, planting 144,714 trees and other floras in 110 hectares (ha.) of land in Tuba and Itogon—the two municipalities that host its gold-and-copper operations in this province—between July and October.

With a 90-percent survival rate, last year’s environmental-protection program also covered new refo areas and those being rehabilitated—replanted to replace the seedlings that did not survive in the previous reforestation programs, which run between three and five years.

Leon Mocate, senior forestry coordinator at the Environmental Quality Monitoring and Enhancement Dept. (EQMED) of the company’s Padcal mine, in Tuba’s Sitio Padcal, Brgy. Camp 3, said in a report that about 2,000 of the total number of trees and other tropical plants used last year had been donated to the outlying communities.

“Our refo program does not only involve us and our contractors planting trees in our host municipalities, but also us donating seedlings to local governments, schools, and other institutions that have established projects on and are adamant about environmental protection,” Julius Bayogan, EQMED manager, said in an interview.

He also said the 2017 reforestation program—which had been designed to reforest 50 ha. of land with 83,350 trees only—involved the planting of the forest trees Benguet pine, kupang, narra, gmelina, teak, ipil-ipil, and antsoan dilau; the medicinal trees eucalyptus and dapdap; the fruit-bearing trees avocadao, bugnay (local wild berry), jackfruit, and guava; the tropical flowering plants bougainvillea, calliandra, and coffee; and vetiver, a bunchgrass used to prevent soil erosion.

In his report updated toward end-2017, Mocate said it was Padcal mine’s different departments and faculty members of the Saint Louis High School – Philex and the Philex Mines Elementary School that had kicked off the planting of trees and tropical plants—a project worth at least P900,000—and reinforced through the company’s engagement of 10 contractors, each with a team of at least five people.

Philex Mining, which has won numerous awards for its various projects on environmental protection, had allotted for its 2017 refo program P345,968 for the maintenance of 50 ha. of land that was on its second year of reforestation, another P637,215 for 100 ha. of reforested land on its third year, and P210,000 for the 75 ha. on its fifth year of reforestation.

Its latest environmental award was given last November by the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) as a first runner-up in the Exploration Category of a government-initiated reforestation contest. In formal ceremonies held during PMSEA’s 64th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference, in Baguio City, Philex Mining was honoured for its reforestation program of the disturbed areas at its two production-sharing agreements with the government and in connection with its Padcal operations in this province.

After spending close to P70 million for its reforestation activities in the outlying communities—both host (Brgy. Camp 3, in Tuba, and Brgy. Ampucao, in Itogon) and neighboring villages (Brgys. Camp 1 and Ansagan, Tuba, and Brgy. Dalupirip, Itogon)—for 30 years, the company has reforested about 3,000 ha. of land in its host municipalities.

Before 1987, Philex Mining had pursued in the 1960s a community-based reforestation program, which served as a livelihood project for some of its stakeholders.

 

 

Philex delivers P14-M infra projects in Itogon

Philex delivers P14-M infra projects in Itogon

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PHILEX Mining Corp. is set to turn over by the end of the year almost P14 million worth of infrastructure projects—ranging from concrete road and retaining wall to drainage canal and grouted riprap with parapet wall to health center and science laboratory—to its host town of Itogon in this province.

Covering the company’s social-program accomplishments for the second and third quarters, the 33 projects were implemented in the town’s host barangay of Ampucao and the neighboring barangay of Dalupirip, Roy Mangali, AV Pat Philex Mining and assistant resident manager at Padcal mine, said.

“Community development is our way of telling our host and neighboring communities that Philex Mining really cares for them,” he added, stressing that a report on the projects to be turned over to another of the two host towns—Tuba—is still being finalized.“And we’re just talking about public infrastructure here. Of course, we have other community projects, such as health, education, livelihood, and environmental protection.”

In a report prepared by Jamal Agustin, coordinator for public infrastructure at Padcal mine, Philex Mining’s gold-and-copper operations in Benguet, the construction of the Barangay Disaster Risk Management Center, in Brgy. Ampucao’s Sitio Ampucao Proper, was the biggest project at P1.5 million, followed by the renovation of the science laboratory building at the Laurencio Fianza National High School, in Brgy. Dalupirip, to the tune of P1.2 million.

Last August, Philex Mining turned over P6 million worth of (five) infrastructure projects—under its 2016 annual budget allocation—to Brgy. Ampucao in formal ceremonies graced by Benguet Gov. Crescencio Pacalso, Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan, and other government officials.

Philex hopeful on lifting ban on open pit mining

Philex hopeful on lifting ban on open pit mining

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MANILA, Philippines — Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. is scouting for potential investors for its $2 billion Silangan copper and gold project as it is optimistic that the government will lift the ban on open pit mining this quarter.

“We are hoping that the ban will be lifted in the  first quarter. Secretary (Roy Cimatu) said they would be studying it,” Silangan Mindanao Mining Co. Inc. chief operating officer Mike Toledo said in a recent interview with The STAR.

The lifting of the open pit ban is expected to fasttrack the entry of possible investors for Philex’s next big prospective mine in Surigao del Norte.

“Once it is lifted, we will immediately proceed with our pre-development works, “ said Toledo, who also sits as senior vice president at Philex Public and Regulatory Affairs.

“Investors are looking at legal and regulatory framework and I could sense that they are more inclined to invest but they are just waiting for the right announcement. Once that it is lifted, we can actually proceed,” he said.

“We are now talking to banks and others. There are already interested people who are just waiting for the government to lift the ban on open pit mining,” Toledo added.

 

The Silangan project, which may start production by late next year or early-2020, will conduct open pit mining for the first 10 years followed by the underground method.

“This is safer, environmentally and financially sound. While we are doing underground, we can already do rehabilitation (in the open pit). This is what we presented  to the MICC (Mining Industry Coordinating Council) and they saw why open pit is the most viable option,” Toledo said.

The Silangan project is seen to replace the Padcal copper-gold mine in Benguet, whose mine life is expected to end by December 2022.

The company has invested over P13 billion for the initial exploration and related works on the site as of the end of 2014, on top of the estimated project cost of about $1.2 billion.

By 2020, the Silangan project is forecast to generate P170 billion in revenues, P31 billion in national and local taxes and at least 8,000 employment opportunities for the first 10 years of operation.

Silangan is also expected to spend P6 billion over the same period for social development and infrastructure programs that will benefit Mindanao.

It is among the biggest prospective open-pit mines in the country.

  • -Louise Maureen Simeon
Toward sustainable mining and the baguio declaration

Toward sustainable mining and the baguio declaration

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Mike About Town

December 19 will go down in history as a “watershed moment” for the mining industry, as this was the day that gave witness to the signing of two very important documents: one, between the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) and the Mining Association of Canada (MAC); and, the other, between the COMP and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

A week after then-Davao Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte won the Presidency  in the 2016 national elections, our Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and I met him in Davao where, among other things, he iterated his challenge to the mining industry to adhere to strict international standards, particularly that of Australia and Canada.

COMP Chairman Gerard Brimo (3rd from left) and MAC President and CEO Pierre Gratton (3rd from right), witnessed by Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines HE John Holmes (2nd from right) and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu (2ndfrom left). Also in photo are: COMP TSM Committee Chairman Eulalio Austin Jr. (leftmost); MAC VP Ben Chalmers (rightmost); (standing, from left) COMP Trustee Isidro Consunji; COMP Communications Chairman Atty. Michael Toledo; COMP Trustees Jose Leviste Jr., Isidro Alcantara Jr., Joaquin Lagonera, Martin Zamora, and Higo Toru.

Thus, Philex Mining Corporation embarked on this crusade to  search for what these other strict international standards were, as a response to President Duterte’s challenge.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu

Not that Philex was inadequate in this regard. On the contrary, Philex had already clearly established itself as a responsible mining company. It already had its Integrated Management System (IMS) certification, which incorporated both ISO 14001:2004 on environmental management system and OHSAS 18001:2007 for occupational health and safety management, way before the DENR requirement for ISO certification. 

Its Silangan Mindanao mining project already got ISO 14001: 2004 certification even before it commenced actual mining operations.

Philex had also garnered numerous awards in corporate governance and leadership here and abroad, like the ASEAN Good Governance Award where it was #1 in the Philippines, including the Philippine Stock Exchange Bell Awards where it has consistently been part of the country’s Top 50 publicly-listed corporations (PLCs) – one of the few, if not the only, mining companies to have achieved such feat. 

Despite all these, however, Philex wanted to seek out other strict standards to comply with, to leave no stone unturned (no pun intended) where excellence in mining was concerned.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and COMP Chairman Gerard Brimo

Philex came across the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative of the Mining Association of Canada which the latter launched in 2004. It was mandatory for all MAC members to their respective Canadian operations, but many of them also applied it to their international projects. 

But because TSM can only be adopted as a standard by a national mining association such as the COMP – as was the case in Finland, Argentina, and Botswana – Philex President and CEO Euls Austin Jr. proposed it to the then-COMP Board of Directors. The COMP Board approved it, and the movement towards its adoption started and snowballed. 

With COMP TSM Committee Chairman and Philex Mining Corporation’s CEO Eulalio Austin Jr. and Canadian Ambassador John Holmes

On December 19, the COMP under its new Chairman, Nickel Asia Corporation President and CEO Jerry Brimo, signed the mutual cooperation and licensing agreement with the MAC as represented by its President and CEO Pierre Gratton who, together with MAC VP Ben Chalmers, flew all the way to Manila from Canada not just to sign the agreement but to also conduct a two-day training to select representatives from COMP member companies on the TSM. 

The signing was also witnessed by my good friend, the Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency John Holmes. In Canada, as I have seen for myself, mining, tourism and agriculture are not mutually exclusive. They thrive together. In fact, it was mining that developed Canada into a powerhouse economy. 

With COMP TSM Committee Chairman Eulalio Austin Jr., Philex Mining Corporation’s Vice-President for Legal and Data Protection Officer Atty. Joan De Venecia and COMP’s Jo Mendoza

If the Canadians and the Australians can do it, then so can we.

In the same breath last November, at the Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference in Baguio City, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu delivered a keynote speech that challenged the mining industry to be a greater contributor to national development, to “go beyond responsible mining”. In response, the COMP has issued this manifesto called the Baguio Declaration which is its commitment to responsible minerals development and, thus, national development in the country.

Thus, on the same day as the TSM agreement signing, representatives of COMP member companies came forward and signed the Baguio Declaration which consists of five main elements of responsible minerals development: that of being people-oriented; protecting and enhancing the environment; respecting the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples; contributing its fair share to the national economy; and of being efficient, competitive, compliant with international standards.

Make no mistake about it, though. Many COMP members, like Philex Mining, have already incorporated these key principles into their operations since way back. 

MAC President and CEO Pierre Gratton

In fact, just recently, both Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation and Oceana Gold (Philippines) Inc. won the 1st ASEAN Mineral Awards, once again proving that the Philippines is tops in mineral development. 

What the Baguio Declaration does is formalize these key principles into a manifesto and institutionalize them in the Chamber.

With these two documents the COMP is well on the right track towards going beyond responsible mining and policing its ranks. Mining is a serious and scientific business, and should be treated with the level of seriousness and science that it deserves. Given the opportunity, it can still be a driver in economic development that contributes substantially towards nation-building under the Duterte administration.

On that very positive note, I greet one and all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

Chamber Of Mines Adopts Canada’s Sustainable Mining Initiative

Chamber Of Mines Adopts Canada’s Sustainable Mining Initiative

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(MANILA, PHILIPPINES) – In response to President Duterte’s call for mining to adhere to strict international standards, particularly that of Australia and Canada, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) recently signed a mutual cooperation and licensing agreement with the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) to adopt the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Initiative, a mining sustainability standard developed by MAC. The agreement was signed by COMP Chairman Gerard Brimo (3rd from left) and MAC President and CEO Pierre Gratton (3rd from right), witnessed by Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines HE John Holmes (2nd from right) and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu (2nd from left). Also in photo are: COMP TSM Committee Chairman Eulalio Austin Jr. (leftmost); MAC VP Ben Chalmers (rightmost); (standing, L-R) COMP Trustee Isidro Consunji; COMP Communications Chairman Atty. Michael Toledo; COMP Trustees Jose Leviste Jr., Isidro Alcantara Jr., Joaquin Lagonera, Martin Zamora, and Higo Toru. The COMP had said that adherence to TSM will be mandatory for all member companies. 30