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Ebdane seeks blueprint for sustainable mining

THE Philippines as one of the largest mining potentials in the world necessitates a blueprint of mine sites toward a sustainable development, Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said on Tuesday.

At the recent three-day Chamber of Mines of the Philippines summit held in Parañaque City, Ebdane took into account the country’s rich mineral resources, particularly gold, copper, nickel, aluminum and chromite, amounting to $1.4 trillion, citing the need for a holistic and well-rounded approach to sustainability.

“May I suggest that mining companies should establish a blueprint of the mining sites with sustainable development for communities,” he stressed in his speech delivered before the biggest annual summit of miners.

The rehabilitation of post-mining areas is very important, he noted.

“This is to ensure that after termination of the [mining] agreement, the community will be able to sustain its existence, given the fact they [miners] have benefitted from the site development,” he emphasized.

Mining operators must strictly exercise sustainable mining practices, energy and water conservation, recycling, environment-friendly disposal of industrial wastes, safety practices and socio-economic development of the communities, and provision of road infrastructure and scholarship grants as part of their corporate social responsibility, he said.

The governor, however, expressed disappointment over the negligence of some mine operators to minimize and mitigate the environmental impact brought about by their mining activities.

“Unfortunately, in the report of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, it claimed that project proponents failed to undertake mine rehabilitation or maintenance,” he lamented.

He said a mine rehabilitation fund shall be established.

“This, aside from the proposed sustainable development, bond fees should also be collected from mining companies in anticipation of possible negative impact of mining in the community,” he suggested.

There is no trade-off between economic growth and socio-environmental footprint, or the risks of mining outweigh the benefits, he said.

“Finally, I am not against mining as mining is one of the income-generating industries in Zambales. However, I will never compromise the health of the people, and the sustainability of our environment and natural resources. Therefore, I am in support of responsible mining in the province and in the entire country,” he stressed.

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