No-Mining Zone Map Readied

Article excerpt

Manila, Philippines --- The no-mining zone map, which identifies areas closed to all mining activities, is expected to be released by next month, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said.

"The no-go zone map is now being finalized by the technical working group (TWG) assigned by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC). It is expected to be operational by June of this year, which means that very soon we will put to rest the debate on which areas are open or closed to mining," MGB Director Engr. Leo Jasareno said. MGB is an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

"The map will make us decide whether or not a particular portion of the country is open or closed to mining. Since it is an integrated map, it will also contain the additional areas closed to mining as provided by Executive Order (EO) 79, like agricultural lands, tourism sites, and critical habitat, among others," he said.

Executive Order (EO) 79 was issued on July 6, 2012 by President Benigno S. Aquino III to institutionalize mining reforms in the country, as well as to ensure environmental protection and responsible mining in utilizing mineral resources.

Under the implementing rules and regulations of EO 79, areas banned from mining have been expanded to include tourism development areas identified not only in the National Tourism Development Plan but also in local development plans.

Other areas where mining are not allowed include those that have been expressly provided for in Republic Act (RA) 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act; protected areas established under the RA 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System; prime agricultural lands, lands covered by RA 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law as amended, plantations and areas devoted to valuable crops, and strategic agriculture and fisheries development zones and fish refuge and sanctuaries declared as such by the Department of Agriculture; and other critical areas, island ecosystems and impact areas of mining that the DENR may identify pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations. …