Philex allots P110 for CSR projects; passes mine audit

>> Sunday, March 5, 2017


TUBA, Benguet – Philex Mining Corp. has set a total of P110.55 million for projects on social development, information dissemination, and research for further improvement of the industry as it reaffirmed its commitment to corporate social responsibility. 
This brings to P730.55 million the total budget that had been allocated for the said projects in the 15 years to date, according to Aurora Dolipas, newly installed community relations manager at the company’s Padcal operations, in this province.
Dolipas said that P82.9 million of the 2017 budget goes to social development and management program (SDMP), P16.6 million for information, education, and communications (IEC) campaign, and P11.05 million for development of mining technology and geosciences (DMTG). 
 “We encourage active and meaningful community participation through partnership and capacity building in implementing projects on health, education, livelihood and enterprise, and public infrastructure,” she added in a presentation before the recent technical audit done by a European firm on Philex Mining’s safety and management systems.
TÜV Rheinland, a German technical services provider, conducted early this month an audit to review the Integrated Management System or IMS certification it granted to Philex Mining in April 2015 for its successful programs on environmental management system and safety management, with the latter including operations in mining, milling, and tailings storage facilities.
Dolipas said this year’s budget allocations for community development and other projects are equivalent to 1.5 percent of the company’s total operating expenses in 2016, with SDMP getting 75 percent while 15 percent goes to IEC, and 10 percent for DMTG.
 Philex Mining’s host communities for its gold-and-copper operations in Padcal include Barangay Camp 3, in Tuba, and Ampucao, in Itogon.
Its neighboring communities, on the other hand, include Barangay Camp 1 and Ansagan (Tuba) and Dalupirip (Itogon).
With a total population of more than 27,000 in 7,896 households, these barangays are collectively called outlying communities.
In an earlier statement, Philex Mining SVP and Padcal resident manager Manuel Agcaoili said the company would start realigning funds for community development to include villages other than the outlying communities but within the host towns of Tuba and Itogon. This move got the support of the two municipalities in behalf of the other depressed barangays in need of development.  
This, as Rolando Remitar, lead auditor at TÜV Rheinland, said he was  “amazed” with the gold-and-copper producer’s community-development efforts and its various awards on environmental protection.
He added  Philex  became IMS-certified in April 2015. “We have positive findings already. We want to see opportunities for improvement which could raise the standards of compliance.”
Awarded to Philex Mining for its successful environmental management system and safety management, the IMS certification consists of ISO, or International Organization for Standardization, 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:2007.
The former is a systematic approach to improve environmental-protection efforts while the latter is a British Standard and external assessment of Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Management Systems.
Safety management includes operations in mining, milling, and tailings storage facilities.
“Rest assured that audit results are treated with the highest confidentiality,” Remitar told the more than 90 Philex Mining officials and employees who attended the forum, held a few days after the start of the audit, which lasted for more than two weeks and whose results might be released soon by the miner.
A Germany-based technical services provider, TÜV Rheinland granted the IMS certification to Philex Mining even before this became a requirement by government agencies regulating the mining industry.
Philex Mining led a dozen large-scale miners that passed the technical audit conducted by a team sent over by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last August, proof that the company has adhered to its commitment to responsible mining by implementing sustainable development.
More than 20 companies have been ordered by Lopez to close their mining operations while five were suspended, citing various environmental rules violations and for allegedly operating in watersheds.
In an earlier statement, Philex Mining CEO and President Eulalio Austin, Jr. said the company was working toward obtaining ISO 26000, which covers Social Responsibility Guidance Standard, even if this was just a guide at the moment and not yet an international standard.

He told the DENR mine-audit team: [This would make] people look at how we do things, and they will speak for us. After the audit, it’s you who will answer for us with regard to responsible mining.”


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