Mainstream media always reports the pressing issues in the mining industry — oftentimes about the unpermitted mining operations in certain areas. People always talk about these issues, but, in reality, do we really know the processes?
Mining corporations have the seven commandments on responsible mining and the government has the laws on the monitoring of the operations. The people have the knowledge on these mining firms’ permitting process.
Before every mining project, mining corporations should secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Environmental Management Board (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that implies that the operation will not have adverse impacts on the environment. Moreover, the ECC contains specific measures and conditions that the proponent must adhere to before and during the operation.
But before mining firms get their hands on an ECC, they must first submit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that includes:
- The baseline environmental conditions focusing on the significantly affected sectors and resources by the proposed project
- An assessment focused on significant environmental impacts, in relation to project construction and commissioning, operation and decommissioning, and taking into account cumulative impacts
- The supporting documents, including technical and socio-economic data used and generated , certificate of zoning viability and municipal land use plan
- The proof of consultation with stakeholders; and
- The proposals for environmental monitoring and guarantee funds, including a justification of the amount if applicable.
Following the process is the review and evaluation of the report, and then followed by the decision making and processing of the ECC application.
Apart from being a contract before an operation starts, the ECC also certifies that the proponent has complied with the conditions and requirements set by the EIS system and has committed to implement its environmental management plan.
After the ECC has been secured, mining operations and mineral and mineral production transactions may commence. However, firms still need to file certain permits and adhere to certain regulations. This is discussed in the next part of the series “FROM OPERATIONS TO REMEDIATION: The Mining Operation and Transaction Process.”