Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Stricter ECC rules on mining firms up

posted May 31, 2016 at 11:15 pm by  Anna Leah E. Gonzales

The Environment Department imposed a new regulation on the processing and issuance of environmental compliance certificate on new mining operations to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector.
The department said in a recent memorandum circular only the ECC application of a company whose name appears on the government-issued Mineral Production Sharing Agreement, or the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement, would be processed by the agency.
“No new application for an ECC shall be processed and issued in the name of any applicant unless the same applicant shall be the entity or corporation as reflected in an MPSA and/or FTAA,” said the circular
Environment said the new requirement would “apply to all new applications for ECC for the operation of sand and gravel or industrial sand and gravel duly approved by the provincial mining regulatory board or the MGB [Mines and Geosciences Bureau] regional office, respectively.”
An ECC issued by the Environmental Management Bureau is a guarantee that a project will not harm the environment.
“There are instances that the MPSA holder enters into an operating contract with an entity so the one who holds the MPSA is not the one who applies for the ECC,” said EMB director Jonas Leones.
“The problem is we cannot hold them accountable for destruction so to avoid problems, whoever applies for the ECC should be the MPSA holder,” Leones added.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the new regulation aimed to ensure the consistency in the implementation of the country’s Environmental Impact Statement System and Republic Act No. 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
“It should be established that the ECC applicant is the same as that designated in the MPSA or FTAA,” Paje said.
The EIS System aims to safeguard the country’s environment and natural resources against growing industrialization and urbanization.
The mining law, meanwhile, regulates mineral resources development with strict adherence to sustainable development.
Paje said all PMRBs and MGB regional offices should ensure strict compliance with the new directive.
“It is the responsibility of and MGB regional offices to ensure that new ECC applications for sand and gravel quarry projects comply with this requirement,” Paje said.
“Sand and gravel count among the most extracted and widely consumed natural resources which we have to regulate,” Paje said.

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