The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), the organization of some of the country’s largest mining companies, will tap independent verifiers to review members’ compliance in meeting society’s growing expectations on the mining industry’s social, economic, and environmental performance, a top official said.
COMP Chairman Gerard Brimo said his organization will tap some independent verifiers this year whose main task is to review COMP members’ self-assessment reports on their mining projects.
This is amid COMP’s adoption of Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM), an environment and social governance standard established by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC).
“This year, we will begin our search for independent external verifiers who will be tasked to evaluate the self-assessment reports of mining projects,” said Brimo, who also serves as the President of Nickel Asia Corp.
“The external verifiers who will be vetted and approved by the COI [Community of Interest] Panel will undergo extensive training early next year with the assistance of MAC as we prepare for external verification of our members’ reports in 2023,” he added.
COMP adopted TSM in 2017 in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier pronouncement that he will support mining as long as it follows Canadian and Australian standards.
Last year, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, COMP completed the “Filipinization” process for TSM to ensure that the program is responsive to Philippine conditions.
The localized version of TSM has been approved by a COI Advisory Panel and was rolled out to COMP members nationwide in August and September.
The COI consists of 15 highly respected multi-stakeholder members, 12 of whom belong to sectors such as civil society, media, academe, indigenous peoples, church, environment, labor, finance, among others.
The mining industry is represented in the COI by three ex-officio members from the COMP Board of Trustees to provide industry perspectives in Panel discussions.
In addition to the Panel’s role in the post-verification review process each year, which for COMP will begin in 2023, the Panel will meet regularly with senior mining representatives to provide support and advice for TSM, to identify emerging issues for the sector, and encourage the mining industry to raise the bar in corporate responsibility.
TSM is an award-winning performance system that helps mining companies evaluate and manage their environmental and social responsibilities. It is a set of tools and indicators to drive performance and ensure that key mining risks are managed responsibly at participating mining facilities.
TSM was the first mining sustainability standard in the world to require site-level assessments and is mandatory for all companies that are members of implementing associations. Through TSM, critical aspects of social and environmental performance are evaluated, independently validated, and publicly reported against over 30 distinct performance indicators.
‘’We have strong faith in TSM’s continuous standard enhancement approach spearheaded by Canada. Not only will TSM help our members further improve their operations. More importantly, it will tremendously boost our efforts to meet society’s growing expectations on the mining industry’s social, economic, and environmental performance,” Brimo further said.
Aside from the Philippines and Canada, other countries that have so far adopted TSM are Spain, Finland, Norway, Botswana, Argentina, and Brazil. Just very recently, Australia also adopted TSM.