BAGUIO CITY – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) projected the doubling of operating mines with the easing of the restrictions on the processing of permits and the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining in the country.
Engr. Marshall Mateo, chief science research specialist of the MGB central office’s Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division, stated that the current more than 100 operating mines is expected to double in due time with the ongoing processing of the permits of the applications that had been pending over the past several year and the subsequent lifting of the ban on open pit mining imposed by the previous administration.
Further, he claimed that the previous 1 percent contribution of mining to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is also expected to double once operating mines will significantly increase in the future.
The MGB official admitted that the suspension of the processing of mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) and other mining permits and the implementation of the ban on open mining greatly affected the country’s mining industry over the past several years that forced some companies to close their mine sites and abandon their mining activities affecting the overall state of the mining industry.
According to him, since the start of the processing of mining permits and the lifting of the ban on open pit mining last year, many mining companies with pending permits started to work on their applications to allow them to start their operations once the said permits shall have been issued.
MGB officials from the different regional offices joined mining industry stakeholders recently in the conduct of the 68th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference of the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) held last week in the city.
PMSEA is a volunteer organization that is strongly advocating for responsible mining and remains to be the frontrunner in occupational health and safety, sound environmental management and social development.
Mateo said that the prospects of mining in the country remains bright because of the prevailing high metal prices in the world market coupled with the presence of mineralized areas in the different parts of the country which have yet to be developed and utilized by responsible mining companies as mining remains to be one of the nation’s economic driver.
Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga emphasized that the government supports responsible mining in the context of the overall goals of inclusivity, resiliency and sustainable development.
Loyzaga reminded mining companies not to be satisfied with their compliance to responsible mining but instead elevate the same to higher levels that will contribute to the country’s overall growth and development.
Secretary Loyzaga graced the Minerals Industry Symposium and the Presidential Minerals Industry Environmental Awards (PMSEA) which were among the activities lined up during the week-long Annual National Mine Safety and Environment conference of the PMSEA.