21 February 2017
ATM Statement: Why responsible mining is a myth
Responsible mining is not possible right now.
First, there is no legal definition that can set parameters on how responsible mining can be done, much less how this can be measured whether in terms of compliance or best practice. The standards are not there so the best model out there is only a set of description of “best practices.”
Second, responsible mining can only be operationalized if mining is done in the context of other laws that are enforceable – e.g., Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, Local Government Code, National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act, – which prescribed “No-Go Zones.” Mining can’t rely solely on the implementation of the Mining Act. If there is land-conflict between Mining Act and these other laws, responsible mining is difficult, unless these conflicts are resolved.
Third, the responsible mining framework is a multi-stage process (according to the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines model). What CoMP is not saying is that the model has not been completed in a single mine site. Steps 1-4 was done in Australia, steps 5-8 was done in Africa, and Steps 9-12 was done in Canada. Not one mine has proven the hypothesis of their responsible mining model.
Fouth, responsible mining was a fall-back position of the mining industry after they failed to defend the concept of “sustainable mining.” Global environment groups shot down this concept when the International Council on Mining and Metals couldn’t defend it.
Finally, responsible mining is only possible if there is a clear national industrialization plan. This plan should be able to tell us: 1) what minerals we need to industrialize, 2) how much of these minerals we need to fuel our industrialization, and 3) when do we need these minerals. After we have clear answers to these, only then should we discuss “where” to get these minerals (and where we will allow mining). This is not only responsible mining, this is also “rational mining”!
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 <email@example.com>
Karl Isaac Santos, Media and Communications Officer, (0917) 301.19.34 <firstname.lastname@example.org>