The Myth of Responsible Mining

The concept of “responsible mining”, showcased by the Chamber of Mines, presents the following elements which:

(a) [abides by the] principles of sustainable development;
(b) [has] built-in protection for the indigenous peoples;
(c) [involves] sharing of benefits of mining among the major stakeholders;
(d) [has] strict environment and social provisions.

The framework of responsible mining is drawn from the so-called “best practices” of various mining operations happening simultaneously in different countries, but this model has not been successfully closed or “looped-in” in one single operation in a specific area. Moreover, no large-scale mining operation has completed the whole cycle of the model yet.

In our analysis, the concept of responsible mining is a weak model, because:

(a) it relies on voluntary compliance of large-scale mining companies;
(b) it highly depends on the ability of the government to enforce and implement the safeguards articulated in national laws and policies;
(c) it does not address the issue of corporate and state graft and corruption, a scenario that not totally insulated in the extractive industries; and
(d) there is token recognition of safeguards (participatory process, free prior and informed consent, environmental impact assessment, etc.).

Furthermore, the industry’s track record has earned enormous social distrust, which does not adhere to the elements of “responsible mining” proving that it does not exit in the Philippines.

Alyansa Tigil Mina National Secretariat
Tel. (2) 426-6740; Fac (2) 426-0385
59 C. Salvador St., Loyola Heights
1108 Quezon City