The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), through the Biological Sciences and Agricultural Sciences Division, has conducted the POLICY FORUM ON MINING on May 26, 2017 at Hotel Jen Manila, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.
Academician (Acd.) Emil Q. Javier gave the opening message and posted the question “How does one take advantage of our mineral resources without the negative environmental side effects?” The main challenge for us is to put together all our thoughts and map out a way to address the issue of environmental pollution and destruction. Ideas and options must be placed forward for the government to look out on how we will move forward, Acd. Javier emphasized.
According to Acd. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., chair of the NAST Agricultural Sciences Division, the objectives of the activity is to provide a forum for diverse ideas on regulation and related concerns on the mining industry; explore ways by which the science community can help generate reliable information that can serve as basis for sound policy on mining; and formulate science-based recommendations addressing urgent issue in the mining industry, with due consideration for the need to balance the needs for socio-economic development and care for the environment.
Dr. Carlo A. Arcilla of the National Institute of Geological Sciences, focused on mining through a researcher’s perspective by discussing the Current Mining Issues: Misconceptions and Proposed Solution. One misconception that Dr. Arcilla pointed out was about mining as a temporary land use. He proposed six actionable solutions in the forum and these are: (1) using an endpoint perspective, not just Net Present Value when considering a robust closure plan for dams (NPV); (2) separating of Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) to allow refocusing on the mining industry alone; (3) in revenue sharing, an in-depth study is needed to consider how much pricing should be done; (4) increase the revenue share of local governments and allow mining companies to pay the local government units directly; (5) encourage value adding and vertical integration of the mineral industry; and (6) exotic elements and black sand.
Dr. Rogel A. Santos of MacroAsia Mining Corporation discussed value-added schemes, promotion of research and development, innovation, and introduction to “green technology” from the perspective of a mining company.
Acd. Guillermo Q. Tabios III discussed about the Impacts of Mining in Watersheds and elaborated on the case of open pit laterite mining of nickel and iron ores.
On the other hand, Ms. Angelica Dacanay, representative of Ms. Regina Paz L. Lopez discussed Mining and Stewardship of the Environment. She elaborated on the Total Economic Value (TEV) of mining’s environmental impact. For policy considerations, she recommended including TEV in the planning and implementation of mining projects. It can also assist stakeholders in understanding environmental problems and solutions of mining operations in terms of proper valuation of benefits and costs.
Three discussions were conducted in the afternoon. The first discussant, Engr. Glenn Narcelo C. Noble from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau shared the facts about the Philippine mining industry and its economic contribution. He also shared that DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu's main thrust is environmental protection – that means clean air, clean water, and solid waste management.
Engr. Marivic E. Yao from the Environmental Management Bureau discussed the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System and the importance of securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC). Engr. Yao also explained the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and its process.
Lastly, Dr. Marion Juan A. Aurelio from the National Institute of Geological Sciences of University of the Philippines Diliman discussed the deep seabed area as a potential source of three main metallic mineral groups, namely (1) polymetallic manganese nodules, (2) polymetallic hydrothermal sulphides, and (3) cobaltrich ferromanganese crusts and why there is an urgent need for an UNCLOS-compliant Philippine seabed mining legislation.
Dr. Jaine Reyes from the Institute of Governance and Rural Development and Knowledge Management Office of the University of the Philippines Los Baños delivered the synthesis of the discussions.