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Last updateSun, 21 Sep 2014 9pm

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Using science and technology in pursuing responsible mining

SCIENCE and technology (S&T) can make mineral extraction safe and sustainable, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.

Science Undersecretary Dr. Amelia P. Guevara, in charge of research and development, said that responsible mining—one that is based on S&T—can be a driver of the country’s economic development.

Guevara represented the DOST in a recent signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with four state universities and colleges (SUCs) for the conduct of a research program that aims to ensure responsible mining in Mindanao.

The research program, titled “S&T Program for Responsible Mining in Mindanao,” aims for a socially acceptable, economically viable, environment-friendly and ecologically sound mining in the region anchored on sound decision support system developed from information and technologies generated through research and development.

Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara, executive director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) of the DOST, said the program will help Mindanao tap and utilize its rich mineral resources in a safe and sustainable manner.

“The economic importance of the local mining industry has been overshadowed by various problems, such as unsafe mining practices, leakage from mine tailings and encroachment in ancestral lands of indigenous people,” Dr. Guevara said. “This program will help address these technical, environmental and socio-cultural issues.”

The program is a collaboration among the DOST, through its agency PCIEERD, the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (Comste), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the SUCs, namely, Caraga State University (CSU), University of Southern Mindanao, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology and Mindanao University of Science and Technology.

The DOST-PCIEERD and the CHED are providing funding to the research program. The DOST-PCIEERD is also responsible for monitoring the program.

 

Mining with a conscience

THE Philippines is among the most mineral-rich countries in the world. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the country sits on an estimated $840 billion worth of untapped mineral wealth.

Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. of Butuan City said there are proper ways of extracting minerals without hurting the environment.

“We will continue to promote economically viable, environment-friendly and ecologically sound mining—one that will serve as a benchmark for the country,” he said.

Dr. Joanna Cuenca, CSU president and overall program coordinator, said responsible mining is mining with a conscience.

“It is one that considers the cost of soil erosion, endemic species and other environmental concerns,” she said.

Dr. Greg Tangonan, Comste representative, said the S&T Program for Responsible Mining in Mindanao is a program with holistic view on mining.

 

Executive Order 79

EXECUTIVE Order (EO) 79 was issued on July 6, 2012, by President Aquino to institutionalize and implement reforms in the Philippine mining sector by providing policies and guidelines to ensure environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of mineral resources.

On September 12, the DENR issued the implementing rules and regulations for EO 79.

(Margarette T. Maceda/PCIEERD)

 

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