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Responsible Mining

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Philippines’ minerals are the country’s assets, many mining applications and projects in the Philippines are also in small islands with fragile ecosystems that are also highly vulnerable to natural and climate hazards. The Philippines is one of the richest mining deposits globally. According to estimates, the Philippines have the fifth largest reserve of minerals in the world. It has the world’s 3rd largest gold, 4th largest copper, and 5th largest nickel reserves. The Intellasia News Online (http://www.intellasia.net) reported on 08 August 2011 that the Philippines’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has announced that about 5 million hectares of potentially mineralized areas across the archipelago are now open to local and foreign investors. Experts said that the Philippines can receive fifty four trillion if all the minerals will be extracted.

The money that our government will receive will surely pay the debt of our country. But still our government is not allowing everyone to extract everything in the ground just to have a big amount of money. Responsible mining may need to be context-specific and give consideration for the diversity of ecosystems among Philippine islands. Responsible mining in the Philippines should be followed by everyone specially mining companies. Greater understanding for the science that leads to more responsible mining will be needed by practitioners and the communities, where mining is proposed, to guarantee the security of the community, environmental sustainability and the culture of the society.

Responsible mining, according to the Chamber of Mines, can help solve poverty “if mining stakeholders put themselves fully to the task”. Binay’s message, “the Chamber of Mines said the best minds and knowledge of the industry would be crucial in helping policy makers and ordinary citizens obtain the truth of mining”. Investment opportunities abound the exploration of minerals. Existing mining laws which allow co production, joint venture and mineral production sharing is attractive to the foreign investors.Despite mineral attractiveness, mining is given tax incentives.

A person who knows about rocks is a geologist. Geologist use many ways to find minerals, they use different gadgets to gather information about the mining site. When geologist is searching for minerals a small land is used. Mining is the extraction of minerals from the surface of the earth. Mining is classified in two types first is the legal mining and lastly is the illegal mining. Illegal mining exist when the operation do not have mining permit, land rights, exploration or mineral transportation permit. Legal mining is when the operation has a legitimate document that was release by the local government where the operation is existing. When exploration geologist find a site for mining , they clear the land,cut the trees and they also dig the land.When the miners finish the work they put the land back on how it was before.

They put back the soils.They plant trees. Environmental scientist have a special task regarding the mine site, because they are the one who plans on what to do after the site is close.If the minerals are close to the surface ,an open cut mine is dug.If the minerals is not near to the surface a tunnel is dug this is a hole in the ground where miners enter. Miners in their large machines sometimes drive down a long sloping tunnel,called a DECLINE. The rocks which contain the minerals are called ORE.Trucks carry loads of ore to a special factory,called a MILL.In the mill the minerals are separated from waste rock. Dams are made to hold water and waste from the mine and mill.Sometimes railways are built to take the minerals away. In a mining site there is a special factory called smelter. Smelters use energy in order to produce metals from minerals. Water is very important in a mining, it is use to clean the minerals from waste rock .It is also use to spray to roads to stop the dust caused by the trucks.When all minerals are extracted a mining site will close .All materials that was used are taken away.

‘ We have seen the devastating effects of some of the mining operations: the spillages of mine tailings in Boac, Marinduque, in Sipalay and Hinobaan, in Negros Occidental, in Itogon, Benguet, and mudflows in Sibutad, Zamboanga del Norte. The adverse social impact on the affected communities, especially on our indigenous brothers and sisters, far outweigh the gains promised by large-scale mining corporations. Our people living in the mountains and along the affected shorelines can no longer avail of the bounty of nature.’ Statement of Catholic Bishops of the Philippines, 1998.llegal mining affects everything in the society where the operation is active.

Because mining is too much it affects the environment and now it is slowly killing our endangered species because their habitat is already destroyed. Mining also affect the health of the people living in the community, it is caused by the dust the person might inhale and it will lead the person to diseases. Even in sea we can see the flow of the laterite that might poison all the species living, in this case even the small fisherman is affected because their living is gone. Deforestation is one of the effects of mining. Mining requires large areas of land to be cleared so that the earth could be dug into by the miners. For this reason, large-scale deforestation is required to be carried out in the areas where mining has to be done.

Besides clearing the mining area, vegetation in the adjoining areas also needs to be cut in order to construct roads and residential facilities for the mine workers. The human population brings along with it other activities that harm the environment. For example, various activities at coal mines release dust and gas into the air. Thus, mining is one of the major causes of deforestation and pollution. Loss of Biodiversity is another effect on land.The forests that are cleared for mining purposes are home to a large number of organisms. Indiscriminate clearing of the forests leads to loss of habitat of a large number of animals. This puts the survival of a large number of animal species at stake. The cutting down of trees is a big threat to a number of plants, trees, birds and animals growing in the forests.

Pollution in land also affect humans and other living things in the earth. Despite measures being taken to release the chemical waste into the nearby rivers through pipes, a large amount of chemicals still leak out onto the land. This changes the chemical composition of the land. Besides this, since the chemicals are poisonous, they make the soil unsuitable for plants to grow. Also, the organisms that live in the soil find the polluted environment hostile for their survival. Pollution on water is one of the major problem of our country.

Chemicals like mercury, cyanide, sulfuric acid, arsenic and methyl mercury are used in various stages of mining. Most of the chemicals are released into nearby water bodies, and are responsible for water pollution. In spite of tailings (pipes) being used to dispose these chemicals into the water bodies, possibilities of leakage are always there. When the leaked chemicals slowly percolate through the layers of the earth, they reach the groundwater and pollute it. Surface run-off of just soil and rock debris, although non-toxic, can be harmful for vegetation of the surrounding areas.

Loss of aquatic life is a problem of the fisherman because fishes will be contaminated.Consumers is also affected of this problem because of the scarcity of fish they are force to buy a substitute good.Release of toxic chemicals into the water is obviously harmful for the flora and fauna of the water bodies. Besides the pollution, mining processes require water from nearby water sources. For example, water is used to wash impurities from the coal. The result is that the water content of the river or lake from which water is being used gets reduced. Organisms in these water bodies do not have enough water for their survival.

River dredging is a method adopted in case of gold mining. In this method, gravel and mud is suctioned from a particular area of the river. After the gold fragments are filtered out, the remaining mud and gravel is released back into the river, although, at a location different from where they had been taken. This disrupts the natural flow of the river that may cause fish and other organisms to die.

Previously buried metal sulfides are exposed during mining activities. When they come in contact with the atmospheric oxygen, they get converted into strong sulfuric acid and metal oxides. Such compounds get mixed up in the local waterways and contaminate local rivers with heavy metals. In mining, accident is not new because all miners know what are the treats when they are about to enter the tunnel looking for some golds,copper that will make them have some money to feed their families. Miners contribute too much for a mining company to become rich even they will sacrifice their lives knowing there family is still waiting in their homes. Thousands of miners die from mining each year. Most of the deaths occur in developing countries. Mining hazards have variety of causes, including leaks of poisonous ,collapsing of mine stones and land, flooding, and mechanical errors from improperly used of mining equipment,noise,manual lifting of heavy equipment.

Noise or irritating and hazardous sound can cause hearing impairment and/or disrupt body functions like blood circulation and hormone imbalance. Deafness and hearing loss can become irreversible and other non-auditory effects are increased blood pressure and peptic ulcer due to increased gastrointestinal motility. Manual lifting of materials causes back troubles leading to acute pain. A large percentage of the workers suffer sooner or later from this disorder caused by their type of work. Vibration on the other hand can cause permanent damage to bones and vibration syndrome or “dead finger” syndrome can lead to gangrene in the hands and fingers. It can also cause digestive problems due to constant shaking of the internal organs, heart problems and disruption of the nervous system. Fumes are emitted by chemicals being used or by the machines being employed during mining operations. Coupled with poor ventilation, this can trigger accidents and cause death to workers. RSI being a soft-issue disorder is caused by overloading of particular muscle group from repetitive use or maintenance of constrained postures. Miners who suffer from RSI complain of weakness of the affected muscles, heaviness, “pins and needles” sensation and numbness.

There are different types of environmental impacts of mining, first is acid mine drainage formation it refers to the outflow of acidic water from a mining site.Acid mine drainage poisons the water where the sediments flow.Erosion is another type of environmental issue. When material is disturbed in significant quantities, as it is in the mining process, large quantities of sediment are transported by water erosion. The sediment eventually drops out of solution and sedimentation occurs at some point downstream from the erosive source. The degree of erosion and sedimentation depends on: the degree to which the surface has been disturbed, the prevalence of vegetative cover, the type of soil, the slope length, and the degree of the slope. Erosion and sedimentation affect surface water and wetlands. Erosion can adversely affect soil organisms, vegetation, because it results in the movement of soil, including topsoil and nutrients, from one location to another.Erosion is a major problem in mountainous areas where mining is operating.

Erosion might kill individuals living in the foot of the mountain. Chemicals, such as cyanide, are used in the refining process to leach and separate valuable minerals from other unwanted minerals. Cyanide and other toxic chemicals such as oil, petroleum products, solvents, acids, and reagants used for processing can be released into the environment and can subsequently affect water, soil, aquatic organisms, wildlife, waterfowl, and humans. The cyanide-contaminated solution left after valuable minerals have been removed is placed in a tailings pond or solution retention basin. These ponds and basins have proven to attract unsuspecting waterfowl and wildlife that suffer both acute and chronic poisoning as a result of direct contact with and ingestion of cyanide-contaminated solution.

Leakage from the piles of waste that are leached with cyanide can allow release cyanide and other toxic constituents directly into the environment via surface water and groundwater flow. Mining has advantages and disadvantages: first advantage is short term employment, in a mining sight manpower is really needed especially when they are about to start the operation. On the other hand short term employment is not good because the worker will leave his/her work after the contract ends. Second our government will earn bigger taxes from the mining companies, everyone knows that taxes is important because this is the blood of our government. The disadvantages of mining are: destabilization of indigenous communities, obviously most of the mining activities is usually done in the mountains where our indigenous people are living and because mining companies want to have a money they are trying ruin the relationship of the indigenous people, some companies also buy the site where minerals are found and that is why people from that community live anywhere.

Displacement of long term employment in agriculture and fisheries, reductions in long term sustainable Agriculture and Tourism Industries, conflicts, health risks, damage to livelihoods, displacement of small scale miners, militarization and human rights abuses, increased corruption, irreparable environmental damage to biodiversity and endemism, accidents, tailing dam failures, floods, damaging land & marine resources, high legacy costs, risk of increased/induced seismic activity, unproven macro economic benefits –export led, repatriation of profits, low taxes and high incentives potential distortion of exchange rates.

According to Mines and Geosciences our country’s minerals export reach US$2.836 billion. Export of minerals in 2011.Coppeer,gold and nickel are the country’s top minerals exports.Japan, Australia, Canada and China are the major coutries destination.Workers currently employed in the minerals
industry. While estimates vary,it is conservatively assumed that every job in the industry, about four idirect job may be generated in the upstream and downstream sectors.PhP 13.375 billion are taxes that was paid by large mining companies.Amount of national and local taxes, fees and royalties that the mineral industry generated and contributed to the Philippine economy.US$4.453 billion is the investment from mining projects. Mineral Statistics in our country are as follows:Php 144.4 billionis the gross production value in mining (metallic and non-metallic) in 2010. In 2011, the gross production value for metallic minerals is Php122.58 billion, 9% or PhP 10.61 hiHER THAN 2010’S PhP111.97 billion.PhP99.2 billion is the estimated gross value added( GVA, excluding crude oil)in mining at current prices in 2011.

Primary mineral commodities includes golg, copper and nickel.PhP 63.14 billion is the value of gold produced in 2011. 28.73% is the average annual growth rate in production from 2006 to 2011.811 million metric tons of identified nickel reserves in the Philippines as of 2010. The Philippine government ensures the adequate protection of the environment, before , during mining operations.PhP2.282 billion is the amount committed by mining companie for the development of their host and and neighboring communities through their approved Social Development programs.Around 711 barangays stand to benefit from the implementation of approved community/social projects. There are different laws about mining that was already implemented.

One of this is the “The Mining Act of 1995 and its Revised Implementing Rule and Regulations is considered in the industry today as one of the most socially and environmentally sensitive legislation in class” also known as Republic Act 7942.It states that all mineral resources in public and private lands within the territory and exclusive economic zone of the Republic of the Philippines are owned by the State.

It shall be the responsibility of the State to promote their rational exploration, development, utilization and conservation through the combined efforts of government and the private sector in order to enhance national growth in a way that effectively safeguards the environment and protect the rights of affected communities. Section 3 of these is a definition of terms as used in and for purposes of this Act, the following terms, whether in singular or plural, shall mean: (a) “Ancestral lands” refers to all lands, exclusively and actually possessed, occupied, or utilized by indigenous cultural communities by themselves or through their ancestors in accordance with their customs and traditions since time immemorial, and as may be defined and delineated by law.

(b) “Block” or “meridional block” means an area bounded by one-half (1/2) minute of latitude and one-half (1/2) minute of longitude, containing approximately eighty-one hectares (81 has.).
(c) “Bureau” means the Mines and Geosciences Bureau under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
(d) “Carrying capacity” refers to the capacity of natural and human environments to accommodate and absorb change without experiencing conditions of instability and attendant degradation.
(e) “Contiguous zone” refers to water, sea bottom and substratum measured twenty-four nautical miles (24 n.m.) seaward from base line of the Philippine archipelago.
(f) “Contract area” means land or body of water delineated for purposes of exploration, development, or utilization of the minerals found therein.
(g) “Contractor” means a qualified person acting alone or in consortium who is a party to a mineral agreement or to a financial or technical assistance agreement.
(h) “Co-production agreement (CA)” means an agreement entered into between the Government and one or more contractors in accordance with Section 26(b) hereof.
(i) “Department” means the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
(j) “Development” means the work undertaken to explore and prepare an ore body or a mineral deposit for mining, including the construction of necessary infrastructure and related facilities.
(k) “Director” means the Director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
(l) “Ecological profile or eco-profile” refers to geographic-based instruments for planners and decision-makers which presents an evaluation of the environmental quality and carrying capacity of an area.

(m) “Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC)” refers to the document issued by the government agency concerned certifying that the project under consideration will not bring about an unacceptable environmental impact and that the proponent has complied with the requirements of the environmental impact statement system.

(n) “Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)” is the document which aims to identify, predict, interpret, and communicate information regarding changes in environmental quality associated with a proposed project and which examines the range of alternatives for the objectives of the proposal and their impact on the environment.

(o) “Exclusive economic zone” means the water, sea bottom and subsurface measured from the baseline of the Philippine archipelago up to two hundred nautical miles (200 n.m.) offshore.


Department of Environment and Natural Resources is the one responsible of taking good care of our ecosystem.DENR is the agency who secure the forest. Mining contributes a lot to our economy, because of the taxes they are remitting. But illegal mining should be stop because aside from destroying our environment they also ruin the life of persons living in the community. If our government can make an action they should implement it so that illegal mining will be stop and it will also help our biodiversity preserve. “Mining shall be pro-people and pro-environment in sustaining wealth creation and improved quality of life” this statement proves that mining acts in our country should be revised because not all operation .

“STOP GREED before it kills again”.

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