Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to lift the moratorium on new mining operations, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Wednesday vowed to scrutinize pending applications for mineral agreements to ensure that they would not pose adverse effects to the environment.
“There is no automatic approval even if these mining applicants submit all the requirements,” Secretary Roy Cimatu said.
Duterte, through Executive Order No. 130, lifted the ban on new mining agreements.
The environment chief said pending applications would only be approved by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau after a thorough review and validation of the final exploration report and mining feasibility studies.
The report to be validated by the MGB central office should show that the delineated mineral resources and reserves are plentiful to last at least a 10-year mine life or commercial extraction life for metallic minerals and seven years for non-metallic.
The mining feasibility study should show that the cost to develop the mine can pay for all the costs related to the mining operation including operating cost, administration overhead, and milling cost if there is a processing plant, environmental cost, social development cost, and safety and health cost.
According to Cimatu, should the feasibility studies show less than ideal returns from the operation, then the application would be disapproved.
He said the DENR has already put in place additional environmental measures to ensure a balance in the care for the environment and the economic and social concerns of the mining industry.