BAGUIO CITY – The country’s mining industry is ready to cope up with the serious negative effects of climate change to the industry since appropriate mitigating measures were already put in place even before the issues and concerns on global warming were raised, a mineral industry expert said here Wednesday during the 61st Annual Mine Safety and Environment Conference.
Engr. Louie Sarmiento, president of the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA), said the mineral industry will not be significantly affected by the effects of climate change because mitigating measures were already done by the companies which form part of their overall operations.
“Climate change will always be there even without the mining industry that is why environmental preservation and protection is one of the major components of their operations and corporate social responsibility,” Sarmiento said.
He pointed out the inclusion of environment preservation and protection efforts in the operations of large-scale mining operations is part of the responsibility of mining companies in order to prevent serious damage that will be inflicted to the environment by the operators.
Aside from requiring large-scale mining operations to plant assorted tree species within their operation sites, Sarmiento said reforestation programs are also being required to be established in host and neighboring communities in order to sustain the scenery and beauty of the environment around their workplaces.
Further, he explained large-scale mining operators are now also being required to venture on renewable sources of energy such as solar, hydro, geothermal and wind in order lessen the use of coal in power generation and contribute to the overall effort os utilizing environmentally-friendly sources of energy and lessen the impact of damage to the environment.
The PMSEA official explained large-scale mining operators are also being required to prepare their mine rehabilitation and decommissioning plan and establish the necessary funds for the purpose so that the vegetation of the mined out areas will be restored after the mine life of the operation of the companies.
Sarmiento cited one of the best examples of a sustainable mine rehabilitation and decommissioning is the on-going conversion of the Raporapo island gold mining project in Albay into an ecotourism destination that will contribute in enhancing foreign and domestic tourist arrivals in the place once the project will be completed.
He cited the government is closely monitoring the activities of large-scale mining operations nationwide so that they will strictly adhere to the provisions on responsible mining, particularly the aspect of environmental preservation and protection.
He cited mined out areas must not be eye sores in the community but their potentials as tourism destinations should be maximized through the assistance of the large-scale mining operator that extracted minerals from the area pursuant to the programmed mine rehabilitation and decommissioning plan.
He appealed to critics of the country’s mining industry to value the contributions of mining to the country’s overall economic growth since the damages inflicted by mining to the communities and the environment are being effectively addressed.