PH’s biggest miners adopt climate change protocol

Published December 7, 2021, 4:22 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), composed of some of the biggest mining companies in the country, has adopted a major climate change protocol to align with the global sustainability initiative among many mining companies around the world.

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In a statement, COMP said it has adopted the Climate Change Protocol of the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative, thus bringing to eight the number of measurement tools that its members will use to grade their environmental and social performance.

This development was approved by the TSM Community of Interest (COI) Advisory Panel, following the recommendation of COMP’s technical working group (TWG) that was tasked to align TSM with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management.

TSM is a globally recognized sustainability program established in 2004 by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC). It is supposed to help mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks within their operations.

Aside from Canada and the Philippines, other countries that have already adopted TSM are Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Colombia, Finland, Norway, and Spain.

Meanwhile, the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management was issued in 2020 by the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Council on Mining & Metals, and the Principles for Responsible Investment.

This standard is meant for operators of tailings facilities worldwide, enjoining them to strive for zero harm to people and the environment from the earliest phases of project conception.

“A refocusing of TSM towards climate change adaptation instead of just carbon emission mitigating strategies is an important and welcome development,” said Carlos Primo David, a COI Panel member and former chair of the National Panel of Technical Experts of the Climate Change Commission.

“The efforts must remain strong for reforestation efforts and carbon footprint reduction, but the impact of climate change warrants ensuring business continuity and, more importantly, resilience in our communities in the near future. These are even more important owing to the fact the climate change impacts will be more prevalent in tropical island nations such as the Philippines,” he added.

David further said that the Climate Change Protocol and its supporting guide will provide mining companies the required focus to attend to local impacts and, through this, enable them to contribute to the global effort to address climate change.

For his part, COMP Chairman Gerard Brimo said “the adoption of the Climate Change Protocol will not only support the alignment with the standard of COMP members with tailings facilities but will also support the alignment of their nickel producers with other ESG standards, such as Responsible Steel”.

“Moreover, the Climate Change Guide is the only mine-related reference that provides methods or procedures on incorporating climate change considerations in the mining operator’s decision-making process,” Brimo said.

Apart from approving the adoption of the “Filipinized” version of the Climate Change Protocol, the COI – composed of 14 highly respected individuals from different sectors of society – likewise approved the TWG’s recommendation to adopt the Guide on Climate Adaptation for the Mining Sector, as well as the revisions to the Tailings Management Protocol and its three supporting documents, namely the Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities; Operation, Maintenance, and Surveillance Manual; and the Table of Conformance.

The revisions were made to ensure that TSM is responsive to Philippine conditions.

The six other TSM Protocols – all Filipinized from the MAC version – are Water Stewardship, Preventing Child and Forced Labor, Biodiversity Conservation Management, Health & Safety, Indigenous Peoples and Community Outreach, and Crisis Management.

 
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