Miners roll out sustainable mining initiatives
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After nearly three years, the local mining industry is finally adopting the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), one of the global benchmarks in the extractive minerals industry.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines recently completed its TSM initiative, a set of social and environmental performance measurement tools.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the pronouncements of President Duterte in the beginning of his term served as a wake-up call for the industry to adhere to international standards.

“In response, the government has implemented new mining policies and strict environmental guidelines that are all geared towards the protection of the environment and the mining communities,” DENR assistant secretary Nonita Caguioa said.

“As we are facing this global pandemic, the government considers the mining industry as one of the primary measures for economic recovery. This is an opportune time for the industry to adopt the TSM because sustainability should go hand in hand with economic growth,” she said.

Established in 2004 by MAC, TSM is a set of tools and indicators to drive performance and ensure that key mining risks are managed responsibly.

The TSM seeks to enable mining companies to meet society’s needs for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically and environmentally responsible way.

“A very important aspect of TSM is the way in which it incorporates civil society oversight through the community of interest advisory panel, which not only oversees the development and implementation of TSM, but also provides a dialogue table between the industry and civil society, resulting in an industry that is more aware and responsive to the views of communities,” Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur said.

The Chamber adopted the TSM in 2017, making the Philippines the first in Asia to subscribe to the self-assessment system coupled with external verification that is rapidly evolving into the global standard for best practices in sustainable mining.

For his part, Mines and Geosciences Bureau director Wilfredo Moncano said the agency would administer and enforce more progressive laws and regulations for the mining sector.

“We all know that mining is finite and a temporary use of land for the creation of economic wealth. The challenge (for COMP members) is to ensure TSM will be used properly to achieve sustainable development,” he said.

Apart from Canada and the Philippines, other countries that have adopted the TSM are Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Finland and Spain.

South Africa, Indonesia, and Laos also expressed their interest in adopting the TSM as well.

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