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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Summit on Small Scale Mining Held

“Always respect, conserve and use properly the bounty of mother nature by being responsible all the time,” exhorted Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, as he called on the small-scale miners to strictly comply with existing environment laws and support  the government’s environment-protection programs during the recent Mining Summit. This was jointly hosted by the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office (BENRO), headed by Ely Apresto and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 3 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at the Hiyas ng Bulakan Convention Center here.
Small-Scale Mining (SSM), also known as “Minahang Bayan,” refers to any single unit mining operation having an annual production of not more than 50,000 tons of ore; artisanal, open cast, or shallow underground mining, without the use of sophisticated mining equipment; heavy reliance on manual labor, and the contracts with a duration of two years renewable for the same period.
Alvarado said that teams from BENRO are strategically deployed in key areas to ensure that environmental laws are strictly observed. A task force also conducts regular inspection of mining areas to monitor illegal mining practices.
During the summit, BENRO made a presentation on the implementation of  E.O. 79, which included, among others: Clarifying the areas closed to mining applications; full enforcement of environmental standards; review of the performance of existing mining operations and cleansing of non-moving mining rights holders; freeze in grants of mineral agreements pending new legislation on revenue sharing; and mining rights through competitive public bidding.
It was also pointed out that a safety organization shall be headed by safety inspector duly accredited by the appropriate government agency.
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