THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is hoping to formalize this year new guidelines which will serve as success indicators for miners’ social development and management programs (SDMP) conducted in host and neighboring communities around mines.


The head of the MGB’s Environment and Social Development Division, Engineer Rodolfo L. Velasco, Jr. said that the success indicators set the standards for meeting the requirements of a miner’s five-year SDMP. The standards are undergoing trials and will be formalized this year.

“We have tested the guidelines on several mining companies. We hope they will be formally in place by this year,” Mr. Velasco said in an interview with BusinessWorld last month at the MGB’s headquarters in Quezon City

“The implementation of these guidelines will be for both the metal and non-metal mines,” he added.

Mr. Velasco declined to provide details of the guidelines ahead of their submission to a technical working group.

The group will determine whether to issue them as a department administrative order or a memorandum order which will require the signature of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary or head of the MGB, respectively.

The indicators were formulated two years ago and were tested since every half-year on companies with five-year SDMP programs nearing conclusion.

If adopted, the guidelines will serve as a reference for miners in drafting their next SDMP programs.

Mr. Velasco cited Section 136 of DENR Administrative Order No. 2010-21 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 as the basis for the guidelines.

“Prior to the end of the five-year term of the approved programs, they shall be subject to performance review by the Bureau to determine and measure the impact of the various programs, the results of which shall serve as an integral guide in the preparation of the new programs,” Section 136 reads.

All mineral contractors are required by law to submit a five-year comprehensive SDMP plan, with the aim of improving livelihoods in host and neighboring communities.

Miners allot 1.5% of the previous year’s direct mining and milling costs for their SDMPs.

The drafting of an SDMP requires consultations with host and nearby communities and the discussion of priority projects based on the community’s basic needs.

Under the law, the SDMP has a community development component which should be 75% of the budget, with mining technology and advancement weighted at 15%, and information, education and communication at 10%.

Mr. Velasco cited Nickel Asia Corp., Philex Mining Corp. and SR Metals, Inc. as some of the model mines for SDMP implementation.

Nickel Asia recently told BusinessWorld that its 2017 SDMP will total P26.91 million, slightly higher than the P26.42 million allotted for five years.

Of the total, the biggest item will go to the construction of farm-to-market roads, followed by educational assistance, among others.

In an e-mail interview earlier this month, Manuel A. Agcaoili, senior vice-president and Padcal resident manager for Philex Mining, said that the firm is allotting P109.58 million for SDMP this year, up 0.8%.

Public infrastructure accounts for nearly half of the total SDMP of Philex Mining while the rest goes to education, health, livelihood and enterprise development projects.

Regular internal and external or third party monitoring is conducted to ensure the implementation of committed projects.

“This is being done by the SDMP Monitoring and Evaluation Team composed of representatives from the company, local government unit, community and Mines and Geosciences Bureau,” Mr. Agcaoili said.

An approved initial five-year SDMP plan is one of the several requirements miners have to secure before getting government approval to start operations.

Monthly internal monitoring of the annual SDMP is done jointly by a mining company’s community relations officer and representatives of its host and neighboring communities to determine the extent of the SDMP’s implementation.

The company officer then provides quarterly and annual accomplishment reports to regional offices which in turn conduct semi-annual monitoring of the implementation of the approved programs.

Meanwhile, the MGB central office is required to conduct an annual audit to ensure the semi-annual monitoring was performed. — Janina C. Lim