Despite unresolved policy issues that have severely affected the growth of the minerals sector, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) wants to be optimistic and remains determined to prove the industry’s resilience by “going beyond mere compliance.”

COMP Chairman Gerard Brimo told delegates of the 2019 Mining Philippines Conference and Exhibition that existing policy gaps still required government attention, including the moratorium on new mining permits and the ban on the open-pit mining method.

Brimo said the COMP would continue to work with lawmakers for a more competitive fiscal regime and the lifting of the open-pit ban as recommended by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC).

He added that despite the somber mood of the industry due to unresolved issues affecting the mining sector, the completion of MICC audits on 26 companies that were served either closure or suspension orders as a result of a previous audit was positive news for the industry. 

Majority of miners passed the MICC audit criteria, which he described as “more thorough and encompassing.”

“The MICC audit involved not only environmental performance but also legal, technical and social prescriptions by individuals that were experts in those fields.  It is good news only three out of the 26 failed.  Others were asked to do remedial work, but the fact is that the vast majority passed,” he said.

While it may take some time to restore its damaged image, the industry was hoping to show the public that miners operate responsibly.

“To my mind, that means not just mere compliance but going beyond,” Brimo said.  

Going beyond mere compliance is the reason why COMP decided to adopt the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM), initiative of the Mining Association of Canada,” he added.  TSM represents a series of sustainable “best” practices, he said.

Brimo said COMP had completed the selection of protocols and was almost finished with the review of indicators under each of the protocols.

COMP has also completed the Community of Intertest advisory panel, which is critical in implementing TSM.  The panel is composed of 12 high-level individuals in their respective fields, and three chamber trustees who will serve in the panel on ex-officio basis. Melo M. Acuña