Mining industry scorecard may be deceptive—Alyansa Tigil Mina
“We are happy that some mining companies are willing to participate in an Environmental Performance Tracking Program, but we are skeptical of the future outputs and the scorecards,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.
Mining firms Philex, Atlas, Benguet and Nickel Asia partnered with Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST) to come up with an environmental scorecard for the industry.
Under the Environmental Performance Tracking Program (EPTP) the companies will be assessed by an independent third party in terms of its compliance to environmental provisions of the Mining Act.
The Mining Act (RA7942) which ATM finds defective and needs to be repealed cannot be the only basis of monitoring mining company’s environmental compliance.
Garganera added: “What we need is to hold a review of all mining contracts and assess mining on-ground to see how much destruction and damage has been done, and what the mining companies and their subcontractors are doing to mitigate them.
“The process of review and investigations should also be open to civil society organizations.”
Philex, Chamber of Mines’ poster of “responsible mining” now holds the ‘biggest mining disaster’ label after the August 2012 mine spill in Benguet, where 20-million metric tons of sediments were released when their drainage tunnel was breached.
The company claimed it was because of force majeure, while some studies show that the Philex tailings pond (TP-3) collapsed because of instability. The TP-3 pond that operated in 1992 was supposed to be decommissioned early 2010, but was used until the accident.
Fr. Edu Gariguez, Executive Director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA) and one of ATM’s Council of Leaders also expressed some concerns regarding the program.
“Though we give credit to PBEST and the mining companies who voluntarily subjected themselves to the EPTP initiative, we cannot dismiss the fact that our main question remains afloat: ‘How responsible is responsible mining?’
“What worries us is the lack of transparency of the result of the program. The communities should have an equal participation in it and should have access to these results, mechanics and guidelines, because ultimately, it is them who are going to be affected by the mining operations.”
On the issue of bad publicity of mining companies, Gariguez commented that “contrary to popular belief, CSOs and communities fighting against mining do not aim to destroy the reputation of mining companies operating in the country, but simply expose their wrong doings, if there are any.”
ATM also called on the government to share its final integrated map system, as required by EO79, s.2012. The map should be able to pinpoint no-go mining areas based on geo- and multi-hazards, protected areas and so on, and be the basis of cancelling mining permits.
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB.
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 firstname.lastname@example.org
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer (0927) 623.50.66 email@example.com
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