MANILA — The inter-agency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) is set to submit to President Rodrigo R. Duterte by January 2018 a memorandum regarding the results of its study on open pit mining.
In a briefing, Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said the study by MICC’s Technical Working Group (TWG) aims to fully inform the President about the findings on open pit mining.
The President has earlier decided to stand pat on his decision to ban open pit mining even after the MICC has recommended the lifting of the ban.
He said he would only scrap the ban if he sees that mining companies are doing something to correct the destruction on environment as a result of mining operations.
Agabin said results of the TWG study is not targeted to immediately make the President change his decision on open pit mining but “to simply inform him of the findings of the TWG.”
He explained that open pit mining is being employed worldwide.
“So the conclusion we had there, as a mining method, is it can be safely done but the recommendation was of course we have to tighten enforcement,” he said.
Agabin, who represents Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III in some of the MICC meetings, explained that tighter enforcement has been part of their earlier discussions but pointed out that “apparently it has not reached the President.”
He said the President would always have the last say on mining regulations but noted that with the planned submission of the findings of MICC’s TWG study they hope to inform the President some more.
Part of the planned memorandum is setting of standards for open pit mining.
Agabin said there are existing rules on open pit mining but current rules did not include standards on certain items similar to building code rules.