Freeman Cebu Business

Mining stakeholders push for responsible mining

Agence France-Presse

The mining industry stakeholders in the Philippines have joined hands to promote responsible mining, recognizing the industry’s untapped potential to drive economic growth further and support social development at the national and local levels while fostering environmental stewardship.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines; the Philippine Nickel Industry Association; the Chamber of Mines - Caraga; the Alliance of Responsible Miners and Operators - Visayas; the Eastern Rizal Minders Association; the Mindanao Association of Responsible Quarry Operators Foundation, Inc.; and the Philippine Mining Exploration Association, have launched a joint initiative called “Living with a Brighter Future,” a documentary which provides a comprehensive narrative of responsible mining practices, portraying the collaborative efforts between mining companies, communities, and local government units (LGUs).

The “Living with a Brighter Future,” is a documentary developed as part of the industry’s Better Mining, Brighter Future communication and advocacy campaign, said Chamber of Mines of the Philippines chairperson Atty. Mike Toledo.

Through the eyes of the company representatives and community members, the documentary showcased the positive socio-economic impact and environmental sustainability initiatives of the mining industry across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

“Mining companies have made substantial contributions to local communities through its Social Development and Management Program (SDMP). Additionally, the industry’s environmental commitments have been significant,” explained Toledo.

From 2002 and 2027, mining companies have pledged a total of PHP 31.81 billion towards SDMP initiatives, with PHP 20.3 billion earmarked for the period spanning 2002 to 2024.

Since 2002, SDMPs have positively impacted over 1,160 barangays across the country. SDMPs serve as a collaborative platform where mining companies, the local government, and the community come together to bridge the gaps in both physical and social infrastructures within the communities they operate in.

Through constant consultations with the host and neighboring communities, mining projects can meet the needs of residents and offer impactful solutions that yield both immediate and long-term benefits, said Toledo.

During the event’s panel discussion, industry leaders highlighted initiatives such as employment creation, education and healthcare investments, infrastructure development, and the preservation of indigenous culture through programs like the IP Culture Revitalization Program.

On the other hand, the Philippine mining industry has provided P387.81 billion, as of December 2023, to environmental protection and enhancement programs.

Consequently, the mining industry has committed PHP 6.72 billion for the rehabilitation of decommissioned mines. One concrete example of the initiatives of the industry is the number of trees planted where, as of December 2023, more than 50 million seedlings covering almost 45 hectares of land have been planted by the industry. Of these planted trees, approximately 90 percent have survived.

“Through innovation and modern technologies, the mining sector is reducing its environmental footprint and paving the way for a future where economic development and environmental stewardship goes hand in hand. Progressive rehabilitation efforts, coupled with investments in reforestation and environmental protection, demonstrate the industry's commitment to responsible stewardship of natural resources,” Toledo added.

The documentary highlighted that the industry contributed PHP 170.1 billion (in current prices) to the Philippines’ GDP in 2022 alone and employed over 212,000 individuals as of 2023.

In his keynote presentation, PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Partner Pocholo Domondon further reiterated the industry’s economic contributions citing NEDA’s 2023 Philippine Development Report which stated that while there was an 18.5 percent decline in the total net FDI (foreign direct investment)  significant contributions were still noted for manufacturing, transportation and storage, and mining and quarrying in terms of increased net equity FDI.

In the same report, the government also listed the fiscal regime for mining as one of the tax measures that the government is discussing as part of efforts to achieve its fiscal targets until 2028.

Further, the government has also cited the mining sector, along with the manufacturing sector, as essential sectors expected to support the government’s 4PH program. The 4PH program aims to build 1 million housing units yearly until 2028.

As the industry moves forward, their collective commitment underscores a shared vision for a sustainable future where responsible mining plays a crucial role in driving economic growth, fostering social development, and preserving the environment for generations to come, Todelo added. — Ehda M. Dagooc

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