The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines reiterated its concern over the integrity of the pending results of the mining audit being conducted by the Environment Department due to the “questionable role of anti-mining civil society organizations.”
“We are not questioning the strict implementation of the law. In fact, we welcome a technical, environmental and social development audit of all mining operations. That has been our call for the longest time,” said CoMP vice president Ronald Recidoro. “What we do question is the bias and partiality that was ingrained in the audit review process with the inclusion of anti-mining groups in the audit teams.”
“Their actions have seriously tainted the impartiality of the audit, sending very negative signals not just to legitimate mining projects but even to other industries,” Recidoro added.
Earlier, the Department Environment and Nautral Resources issued a directive requiring the inclusion of third party experts in the audit teams.
CoMP said none of the civil society organization representatives qualified as social development experts and could claim no relevant expertise.
“We find it objectionable that public resources were likely used to transport and billet these private individuals when they are biased against mining and add no technical expertise to the review process,” Recidoro said.
The government earlier conducted an audit on the operations of mining companies in the country. The audit aims to determine which companies are strictly following the laws and guidelines issued by the government.
The results of the mining audit wil be announced by Environment Secretary Regina Lopez on Tuesday.
Recidoro said the biggest environmental violators were the illegal miners that produced approximately half of the country’s total gold production.
“We urge the DENR to focus on the bigger and more urgent problem of illegal mining. Government is losing billions every year not just on unpaid taxes and smuggling, but also from the unmitigated destruction of the environment by these illegal miners with no effort towards rehabilitation. In these areas, there is real suffering and unhappiness,” Recidoro said.
Recidoro said responsible mining companies were doing programs and projects well beyond with the compliance rules and regulations of the Philippine Mining Act and other relevant laws.