Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Monday the inter-agency Mining Industry Coordinating Council will review mining operations in the country every two years.
MICC is co-chaired by Dominguez and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
Dominguez lauded the MICC for starting the “fact-finding and science-based” review of mining operations across the country for the first time since the inception of the multisectoral oversight body five years ago.
Dominguez said since the MICC was reconstituted in 2012 under Executive Order No. 79, the body had failed―until now―to perform one of its main tasks under the law, which was to carry out a multi-stakeholder review of mining operations once every two years.
“I have to congratulate all of you because this group was set up in 2012. It’s the first time ever that we are going to do this review,” Dominguez said at the recent MICC meeting.
Dominguez recalled that the first time the MICC met under the Duterte administration and began to discuss the conduct of a multi-stakeholder review was in February. “So after that, we got things done. Congratulations to everybody,” he told his fellow members in the council during their latest meeting on Oct. 24.
The first batch of mining operations covered by the review were the 26 sites arbitrarily ordered either closed or suspended by former Environment secretary Reginal Lopez.
Dominguez said was MICC was mandated to conduct a review of mining operations every two years, the council should start discussing in January next year the review plan for 2019, which should cover a different set of mine sites.
He predicted that “after two or three cycles,” MICC would have already covered the review of all mining sites in the entire country.
“Because it took quite a bit of time to plan for the implementation of this [first review], and because we are mandated to do this every two years, I think, in January we should already be planning what we will do for 2019,” Dominguez said.
“Let’s start planning already for the second round,” he said.
MICC, in the first round of the review covering the initial batch of 26 mines, is expeced to release the preliminary results in January next year and the final report by March. Five technical review teams will carry out the review.
Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said the clustering of the mines for review were based on the types of minerals and locations.
Majority of the MICC members also decided to recommend the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining provided that laws and regulations governing the method of minerals extraction were strictly enforced.
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