Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine government is still determined to award the country’s best mining companies.
A Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) memorandum showed that the agency, tasked to regulate and develop the country’s mining sector, has already started the nomination process for the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Awards (PMIEA), Best Mining Forest Contest, and Safety Mines Awards.
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the various Selection Committees and MGB opted to continue to give recognition to the private sector’s initiatives and exemplary achievements in the protection of the environment and ecology to further promote private sector participation, enhance public awareness on the protection of the environment and ecology, and contribute to the growth of the economy and improvement in the quality of life of Filipinos,” MGB said.
The PMIEA, pursuant to Executive Order No. 399, series of 1997, recognizes the exemplary practices and commitments of entities involved in underground and surface mining operation, quarry operation, mineral exploration, and mineral processing.
The PMIEA Selection Committee (PMIEASC) is normally co-chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the President of Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.
Its members include the respective secretaries of the following agencies: Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, and Department of Science and Technology. Other members of the said Committee are the Presidents of the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association; and Philippine Mining and Exploration Association.
Normally, the conferment of the aforementioned awards is being celebrated during the Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference (ANMSEC) in Baguio City.
However, for this year’s selection, the ceremony will be held virtually and is tentatively scheduled in March 2021.
For this year’s selection, nominees are required to submit PMIEA and Mining Forest Program (MFP) write-up, supporting Safety and Health, Environment, and Social Development and MFP documents, and audio-visual presentation.
Offsite validation will be conducted to adhere to the ongoing community quarantine due to COVID-19.
During last year’s ANMSEC, six companies were given PMIEA, namely Agata Mining Ventures, Inc., Cagdianao Mining Corporation, Holcim Mining and Development Corp., Republic Cement and Building Materials, Inc, Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corp., and Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corp. for Mineral Exploration Category.
MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano said these companies serve as “good examples” for the rest of the mining industry to follow.
During that time, he also challenged mining companies to meet the higher standards the government had set in terms of protecting the environment and communities in mining areas. “You either mine responsibly or you don’t mine; there is no middle ground,” Moncano said.