Press Release
September 4, 2007

Loren seeks Senate probe on mining law compliance

Senator Loren Legarda filed yesterday a resolution directing concerned committees of the Senate to determine whether mining companies operating in the country are complying fully with the provisions of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 ( R.A. No. 7942).

Specifically, Loren sought to determine whether mining and mineral exploration activities are being conducted without disregard of environmental protection and the safety of affected communities.

Loren's Senate Resolution No. 119 also directed the Senate committees on the environment and natural resources, and economic affairs to look into the impact of mining agreements entered into by the government on the country's economic growth.

She emphasized that it is incumbent upon Congress to determine whether the benefits derived from the mining industry are worth the social and the environmental costs that result from it.

"There is a need to look into existing exploration permits and grantees of mineral agreement to determine whether their operations are consistent with the provisions of the Mining Act, particularly on safety and environmental protection," she said.

Loren said that while mining is an attractive industry, it results to the depletion of nonrenewable sources, thus the need for its close monitoring by the government. "We must ensure that the provisions of the law, particularly those that enable the government to require the use of mining practices that would protect the environment and rehabilitate mined-out areas, are implemented," she said.

Loren cited data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that the gross production value from mining increased from P35.2 billion in 2002 to P40.7 billion in 2006.

She noted the increase in the number of metallic mine operators from nine contractors in 2002 to 18 in 2006, as well as the dramatic increase in mineral agreements from 283 to 391 for the same period.

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