COMP says ‘sustainable mining’ in PHL begins next year via TSM

The implementation of the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative for member-companies of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) will begin next year.

In a news statement issued on Thursday, COMP said it is now ready to implement TSM, a Canadian mining model, after nearly three years of substantial review of the program’s various components to assure applicability to conditions in the Philippines.

Through TSM, COMP aims to drive its members’ environmental and social performance and ensure that key mining risks are managed responsibly, and best practices are applied at members’ facilities nationwide.

Peter MacArthur, Canadian ambassador to the Philippines, said when TSM was launched by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) in 2004, the program “was the first mining standard to apply at the facility level, with public reporting, independent verification and civil- society oversight.

Today, the envoy said, TSM helps to ensure affected communities have the data they need to know nearby mines are being managed responsibly and safely for the overall public good.

“A very important aspect of TSM is the way in which it incorporates civil-society oversight through the Community of Interest Advisory Panel, which not only oversees the development and implementation of TSM but also provides a dialogue table between the industry and civil society, resulting in an industry that is more aware and responsive to the views of communities,” MacArthur added.

In 2017, COMP signed a mutual cooperation agreement with MAC for the adoption of TSM in response to President Duterte’s call for the mining industry to follow Canadian and Australian standards.

“The pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte in the beginning of his term served as a wake-up call for the mining industry to adhere to international standards,” Nonita Caguioa, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assistant secretary for Mining Concerns said in the same statement.

“In response the government has implemented new mining policies and strict environmental guidelines that are all geared towards the protection of the environment and the mining communities. As we are facing this global pandemic, the government considers the mining industry as one of the primary measures for economic recovery,” she said.  “This is an opportune time for the industry to adopt the TSM because sustainability should go hand in hand with economic growth.”

Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Wilfredo Moncano, for his part, said that  this is the first time that TSM has been adopted in Asia.

“We at the MGB are delighted with COMP’s establishment of this [program] and we express our gratitude as you have complied to the call of our President,” the mining official said.

Apart from Canada and the Philippines, other countries that have adopted TSM are Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Finland, and Spain. South Africa, Indonesia, and Laos have expressed strong interest in adopting TSM as well.

“Rest assured that the DENR and the MGB will give their utmost support for the development of TSM,” Moncano added.

“We will also guarantee our role to serve by administering and enforcing more progressive laws and regulations for the mining sector,” he said.

“We all know that mining is finite and temporary use of land for the creation of economic wealth. The challenge [for COMP members] is to ensure TSM will be used properly to achieve sustainable development,” Moncano stated.

MacArthur said investors are increasingly looking at how to measure the environmental and social performance of miners and are turning to standards like TSM. 

“In fact, Sustainalytics, a major environmental and social ratings agency, recently developed a new tailings indicator that leans heavily on TSM,” the envoy pointed out.

“The only way a miner can receive the top level of performance in the Sustainalytics indicator is through TSM,” he stressed.

The COMP recently completed the rollout of the TSM initiative among its member-firms in Luzon and Visayas.

It was launched in Mindanao last month.

A total of over 200 individuals representing the country’s biggest large-scale mining projects participated in the Luzon-Visayas and Mindanao TSM rollouts.

The rollouts, held via a videotelephony platform, were hosted by The Embassy of Canada Trade Mission.


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