February 23, 2017
The multi-stakeholder Technical Working Group of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) is forming five technical groups that will conduct an “objective, fact-finding, science-based” review of the orders by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on closure or suspension of 28 mine sites across the country.
This review will be over a three-month period, starting March, by five groups consisting of “technical review experts” who “shall be independent and [have] no known conflict of interest” with the mining sector or any anti-mining non-government organization, according to the organizational framework by the MICC's TWG during its first meeting earlier this week, a statement of the Department of Finance said Thursday.
Under the organizational framework, these five groups or technical review teams (TRTs) will go over the compliance of the 28 mine sites with applicable agreements, submissions, laws and regulations and impact of their operations, taking into account five aspects agreed upon during the Feb. 20 meeting of the TWG.
“This [review] it’s pursuant to Executive Order 79, and our thrust, and as required, every two years, the MICC should review the mining operations,” Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin told media after the MICC multi-stakeholder review meeting. “The MICC is supposed to do every two years a multi-stakeholder review. So that’s what we are doing.”
He said the teams will begin the review by focusing on the 28 mine sites suspended or shut down by the DENR.
The DENR ordered last Feb. 2 closure of 23 mine sites and the suspension of operations of five others. A week later, it ordered the cancellation of 75 mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs) still in the pre-operation stage that the government had forged with mining companies.
“The review shall take off or refer to the existing reports conducted by the DENR’s audit team and Technical Review Committee along with existing laws, rules and regulations," said Agabin, who heads the legal affairs group and revenue integrity protection service of the Department of Finance.
He said the DENR will make its audit findings available for the teams to review. DMS
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