By Madelaine B.Miraflor
Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has given its nod to six Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programs (EPEP) and Final Mine Rehabilitation and/or Decommissioning Plans (FMR/DP), two of the most important regulatory requirements for companies in the extractive industries.
The Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund Steering Committee, chaired by MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano, recently approved the EPEP and FMR/DP of several contractors from July to September 2019.
The contractors whose EPEP and FMR/DP were approved are the Pangilinan-led Silangan Mindanao Mining Company, Inc., TMC-Tribal Mining Corporation, JLR Construction and Aggregates, Inc., and Atro Mining Vitali, Inc., according to a statement.
Republic Cement & Building Materials, Inc., too, got its EPEP and FMR/DP approved for its projects in Norzagaray, Bulacan and Teresa, Rizal.
Pursuant to Sections 169 and 187 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2010-21, mining and construction companies are required to submit an EPEP and FMR/DP.
The EPEP provides the description of the expected impacts of the mine and sets out the life-of-mine environmental protection and enhancement strategies based on best practice in environmental management in mining operation.
FMR/DP, on the other hand, is a plan for returning the mine sites and affected areas to viable and, whenever practicable, self-sustaining ecosystems that are compatible with a healthy environment and with human activities.
MGB noted, however, that the Certificate of Approval (COA) given to these companies provides certain conditions that need to be complied with.
One of the conditions of the COA is for the contractors to make an initial cash provision of its Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Fund (FMRDF) within 60 days from the date of the FMR/DP’s approval to ensure that the full cost of the approved plan is accrued before the end of the operating life of the mine.
The companies whose EPEP and FMR/DP have been approved were invited to sign the conforme portion of the COA.
Contractors were strictly reminded of the conditions of the COA, specifically, the establishment and deposition of the FMRDF in a Government depository bank.
As of September last year, data from MGB showed that mining companies have committed to spend ₱39.74 billion in total for their plans and programs related to sustainable development and environmental protection/rehabilitation.
The amount included the companies' budget for EPEP, FMR/DP, and Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).
The SDMP is a tool for the development and implementation of community programs, projects and activities for the host and neighboring communities of a mining project/area.
This is a five-year plan geared towards the development of responsible, self-reliant and resource-based communities capable of developing, implementing and managing development programs, projects and activities.