Environmental Impact Review Committee to Scrutinize Mining Firm's Mitigation Plan for Infra Project

Article excerpt

Malalag, Davao del Sur, Philippines (7 December) -- The head of the environmental impact assessment committee for an infrastructure component of a large-scale copper-gold mining project in South Cotabato, assured a thorough review on the mining firm's safeguards and mitigation plan "which should be socially and environmentally acceptable."

Professor Ramon Barbon, chair of the Environmental Impact Assessment Review Committee (EIARC), said that the committee would extensively review and assess the environmental impact statement (EIS) of the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. for its proposed off-lease linear infrastructure (OLLI) project.

Barbon gave the assurance during the recent public consultations or public scoping conducted by SMI in the towns of Kiblawan and Malalag of Davao del Sur, as part of the environmental impact assessment process wherein the firm gathered views, perceptions and concerns from directly and indirectly affected stakeholders.

While SMI gave its commitment to manage well the social and environmental impacts of the project "in order to enhance positive effects and mitigate unavoidable negative impacts," Barbon stated that the committee would scrutinize the EIS documents of SMI.

"We have to carefully review the required documents whether the proponent deserves to be issued of the Environmental Compliance Certificate or ECC," said Barbon, explaining that the EIS would support an application for an ECC for SMI's OLLI project.

The OLLI project, a vital component for the proposed Tampakan Copper-Gold Mining project, would consist of a power transmission system and a concentrate pipeline system that transports the copper-gold concentrate from the mining site in Tampakan passing through Malungon in Sarangani province, Kiblawan, and a part of Sulop, also in Davao del Sur.

According to Barbon, the EIS documents must be comprehensive integrating the environmental and socio-economic responsibilities of the mining company. "The government sees to it that the safeguards and mitigation plan must be environmentally acceptable," he stressed.

The EIARC, comprised of members from the private and government sectors, is organized by the Environmental Management Bureau under the functions of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. …