2 Benguet mine firms brace for end of life

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BAGUIO CITY  – Two large-scale mining companies started fulfilling their mandated obligations to establish their respective trust funds that will bankroll their Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Plan (FMRDP) that was approved for the end of their mine life.

Engr. Fay W. Apil, regional director of the Cordillera office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-CAR), Said the Philex Mining Corporation and Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company have approved FMRDPs while Benguet Corporation (BC) and Itogon-Suyoc Resources, Inc. (ISRI) were able to hurdle the requisites of the local Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committee (MRFC) and that their respective FMRDPs are now pending review by the Compliance Liability Rehabilitation Fund Committee (CLFRC).

Under their respective FMRDPs, Philex has a projected mine life until 2022 and is obliged to deposit in trust more than P137 million for its FMRDP while Lepanto’s mine life will end on 2049 where it is required to deposit in trust more than P169 million for its FMRDP.

Director Apil pointed out that although the FMRDPs of the mining companies are subject to review and assessment every two years to reflect any development in their attempts to look for ore bodies that will extend the same, Philex and Lepanto already started completing the required funds pursuant to established rules and regulations.

The MGB-CAR official stated that based on records, Philex was able to deposit more than P102 million for its FMRDP while Lepanto was also able to create a FMRDP trust fund with roughly P35 million even if the company is given until 2029 to fully establish the aforesaid funding requirement.

Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, mining companies are mandated to prepare their respective FMRDP and deposit in trust the funds required for the purpose so that there will be available funds that will be used to implement the programs, projects and activities defined in such plans to bring back to its original state their former tenement areas located in the different parts of the country.

According to her, mining companies that are on the brink of closure can start implementing programs and projects within their FMRDP prior to the scheduled end of mine life where the funds that have been used for the said activities could be deducted by the concerned company from the trust fund that had been created for the purpose.

However, she claimed that Philex and Lepanto are also doing their best to locate for nearby ore bodies or deposits that could contribute in their efforts to possibly extend their projected end of mine life because of the significant contributions of mining to the development of rural areas and providing sustainable jobs and sources of livelihood for the people amidst the various environmental issues and concerns being raised against mining.

Apil asserted that concerned government agencies are closely working together to ensure that mining companies adhere to the practice of responsible mining to earn the trust of the people living in their host and neighboring communities that mining during the present times is far better compared to the conduct of the extraction of minerals done previously.

By Hent

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