January target set for mining audit results

Posted on December 13, 2016

A DECISION on 30 metal miners at risk of non-compliance in their environmental management practices after a nationwide audit may be released by the end of January.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau’s decision on 30 metal miners at risk of non-compliance in their environmental management practices after a nationwide audit may be released by the end of January. -- AFP
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau’s (MGB) Officer-in-charge, Assistant Director Danilo U. Uykieng, who is leading the final phase of the audit, said that the review of the responses of these mining firms will start today. He added that none of the miners’ responses to show-cause orders that have been sent to them by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been validated.

“Tomorrow, (Dec. 13) the technical working group will start the review... they were turned over to me, all the documents, last Friday, without any review,” said Mr. Uykieng, who was designated last month to head the review, in a Monday phone interview.

The technical working group of five sections, each with members holding positions from the various agencies of the DENR, will start assessing which mines to prioritize, with those cases deemed “less complicated” to be identified, according to Mr. Uykieng.

He added that they proposed to Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez a “doable” plan wherein the MGB will conclude the validation of eight miner’s responses before the holidays, though he gave no guarantees.

The reports will be submitted directly to the Office of the Secretary which rule on the reports.

Ms. Lopez said in October that the DENR has sent out show-cause letters along with audit findings reports to the miners, who were expected to respond in seven days after receipt.

The audit, which began July 8, was originally to be a one-month review but has seen repeated delays after revised target dates for a final determination on their compliance.

The mining industry has criticized the delays as harming the reputations of the companies involved.

Validating the reports of those who were not recommended for suspension will be the last priority, Mr. Uykieng said.

“They are not recommended for suspension. They were not given show-cause orders... We will evaluate them last,” Mr. Uykieng said, referring to the 11 miners that will not be included in the scope of their review.

Asked of the possibility that these 11 miners will have nothing to answer for in the audit, Mr. Uykieng said: “As far as the audits are concerned, I think so. But if there are violations after the audit, then they are not exempt...”

These 11 metal miners were found to have committed infractions although not serious enough to merit suspensions

Mining companies not recommended for suspension are Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp., Philex Mining Corp., Philsaga Mining Corp., Techiron Resources, Inc., Cagdianao Mining Corp., Taganito Mining Corp., Platinum Group Metals Corp., Greenstone Resources Corp., Pacific Nickel Philippines, Inc., Apex Mining Co. Inc., and Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. -- Janina C. Lim