MMDC Adopts ‘Towards Sustainable Mining’, ‘Baguio Declaration’
(Left photo shows officials and members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines with DENR Sec. Roy A. Cimatu during ceremonies marking the adoption of the Towards Sustainable Mining initiative and the Baguio Declaration. In right photo, Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. Vice Chairman Isidro A. Alcantara, Jr. signing the Baguio Declaration in behalf of MMDC).
To manifest its commitment to responsible minerals development and to ensuring a thriving environment and host communities long after mining has ceased, Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) has joined the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) in the adoption of the “Towards Sustainable Mining” (TSM) initiative and the “Baguio Declaration”.
MMDC Vice Chairman and COMP Board Trustee Isidro C. Alcantara, Jr. represented the company in ceremonies attended by no less than Sec. Roy A. Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines John Holmes, and Mining Association of Canada (MAC) President and CEO Pierre Gratton.
TSM is a mining sustainability standard developed in 2004 by MAC. Implementation of the program is mandatory for all MAC members’ Canadian operations, but many voluntarily apply it to their international sites. MAC freely shares TSM with other countries seeking tools to improve the environmental and social performance of their mining industries, including engagement with civil society and enhanced transparency and accountability.
Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte has said in several speeches that the country’s mining industry should adopt the Canadian and Australian standards in protecting the environment and in upholding the rights of host mining communities.
The Baguio Declaration, on the other hand, is COMP’s response to the keynote speech delivered by Sec. Cimatu at the awards night of the 64th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference last November 24. In that speech Sec Cimatu challenged the whole mining industry to be a greater contributor to national development. COMP, through its executive committee, immediately took up the challenge and fast-tracked a number of initiatives that have been in the pipeline since the 2017 Mining Philippines conference last June.
“I am happy that you have accepted my challenge to the mining industry and I look forward to more meaningful collaboration between the DENR and the private sector involved in minerals development in ensuring even greater benefits for our people”, Sec Cimatu told the COMP leadership.
Gratton, for his part, said “it is MAC’s privilege to share our tools and expertise in sustainable mining practices with the world. We applaud COMP for taking this important step forward as it works to enhance its industry’s environmental and social performance.”
“Our participation in both the TSM and the Baguio Declaration is aligned with Marcventures’ ‘Clean Mining’ Advocacy, particularly in making sure we exceed our host communities’ expectations in mitigating the impact of our operations on the environment, and in serving these communities as a matter of social obligation during and long after the life of our mines,” Alcantara said. “This advocacy has led us to find new and better ways to improve our systems and processes, and to put highly qualified people to lead our team and manage our business.”
TSM requires mining companies to annually assess their facilities’ performance in key areas, including tailings management, community outreach, safety and health, biodiversity conservation, crisis management, and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions management. The results are freely available to the public and are externally-verified every three years to ensure what has been reported is accurate.
The Baguio Declaration, meanwhile, outlines five elements of Responsible Minerals Development: (1) People Orientation; (2) Protection and Enhancement of the Environment; (3) Respect for the Rights and Welfare of Indigenous peoples; (4) Fair Contribution to the National Economy; and (5) Efficient, Competitive and Compliant with International Standards.