DENR reopens door to mining

ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roy Cimatu recently assured investors especially those in the mining sector that his agency is still accepting environment and mining business proposals.

Cimatu allayed the fears of investors especially those in the mining industry who were hugely affected by reforms initiated by former environment chief Regina Lopez.

He said he has instructed his people to devise ways on how to make doing business in their department easier.

 

Shorter Process

“We have provided facilities for online application for environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to shorten the process and the authority to issue cutting permits of planted trees has been delegated to the regional office,” he said.

He however pointed out that despite the ‘investor-friendly initiatives,’ his office will continue to push for clean and green energy, promote proper management of water resources and solid waste, and ensure responsible mining.

Cimatu added the agency has introduced improvements in the implementation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) system, as well as the processing and issuance of tree cutting permits for development projects.

 

Financial Mechanism 

DENR is also promoting the deployment of clean and green energy sources through the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the recently-signed Joint Credit Mechanism (JCM) between the Philippines and Japan.

CDM is a financial mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol which enables developed countries to implement cost-effective emission reduction projects in developing countries.

This after DENR has been designated as the national authority for CDM, while its attached agency, the Environmental Management Bureau will serve as the Secretariat.

To date, 119 CDM project applications have been received, 70 of which have been registered comprising of 21 large-scale and 49 small-scale projects, most of which are renewable energy initiatives.

JCM is expected to promote the transfer and use of clean and green technology. Potential projects under the mechanism are in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and waste handling and disposal.

 

New Mining Projects

As the DENR opens its doors for investors, Cimatu would probably allow new mining projects in the country.

“Mining in the Philippines can only be responsible if the development of the country’s mineral resources will be on the basis of technical feasibility, environmental sustainability, cultural and social acceptability and financial viability. The absence of one will not render the project responsible,” Cimatu noted.

This means that the abolition of Executive Order (EO) 79 could now be possible.

Under EO 79, no new mineral agreements shall be approved until a legislation rationalizing existing revenue sharing schemes and mechanisms shall have taken effect.

Still, Cimatu said the DENR will continue to "strictly enforce mining and environmental regulations, and mining operations found violating laws, rules and regulations shall be subject to penalties, suspensions and/or cancellation." (Mico Agustin)

 

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