Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur

Sustainable Mining Management and the Next Generation: An Integrated Perspective



The Philippine mining industry was included in the 2011 mandatory list of annual Investment Priorities Plan which the Trade Department endorsed to Malacanang to further drive national economic growth.  In effect, the mining companies will enjoy tax and fiscal incentives to accelerate exploration of Philippine natural resources (Hudtohan, 2011). With President Aquino declaring a total log ban to protect our rain forests, environmental advocate Gina Lopez (2011) questions his national policy on natural resources. She said, “You can’t ban logging and allow mining in the same breath”.


At the conference of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, DENR Sec. Ramon Paje, Jr. publicly announced that he is ‘not anti-mining’. However, he admitted he cannot prevent Congress or other sectors to review the Mining Act. He said he would address the issue of open pit mining in South Cotabato where Xtrata and Indophil Resources NL are determined to use open pit mining method for their US$5.2 billion Tampakan copper and gold project (Manila Standard Today, Mar. 26, 2011).


On January 26, 2011, The Manila Standard Today reported the benefits derived from the corporate social responsibility programs of the mining industry. Chieftain Gideon Salutan of the Kiblawan Municipal Tribal Council in Davao del Sur announced the support of the Balaan tribe for the $ 5.9 billion copper-gold project in nearby Tampakan, South Cotabato. He said, “We have a national law that allows responsible mining while at the same time this project should abide by the national law on environment protection”.  He is aware of the South Cotabato environmental code that bans open-pit mining in the entire province, which contrary to the provisions of  the 1995 Mining Act.   But he added, “Our tribe is for the protection of environment.  But we are also for responsible mining”. The benefits received include: scholarships, health services, and jobs because of the mining project. Some 3,000 households were enrolled under the health program of Sagittarius Mines Inc., the government contractor for the Tampakan project and the company is maintaining at least 14,000 elementary, high school and college students.


The Mining Journal of the Philippines (2009) admitted that there are groups opposing mining, such as the Catholic Church, environmentalists and New People’s Army (NPA).  The local mining companies are more knowledgeable about cultural sensitivities, and are more acceptable to the local communities. However, on December 26, 2010 The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that “Seven major mining companies have threatened to withdraw from northwestern Mindanao, saying they could no longer meet high extortion demands from the communist New People’s Army (NPA).   The revolutionary tax increased from P15 million to P20 in 2011.  Philippine mineral deposit is estimated worth of US$ 1trillion.”


There is a 10 million signature campaign and a television advertisement against destructive mining to save the natural resources of Palawan. Behind this campaign is the Save Palawan Movement composed of a coalition of nongovernment organizations, indigenous peoples, youth groups, Church and local media to preserve the ecological treasure of the Philippines. The death of environmentalist-journalist Gerardo Ortega who openly opposed the destruction of natural resources in Palawan gave birth to this movement (Editorial, Manila Standard Today, Mar. 9, 2011).


No doubt, the investment policy of the Philippine Government on mining is driven by a need for economic gains.  However, the environment and social costs involved must be addressed in the context of sustainable development that will benefit not only the present generation but more importantly the future generations of Filipinos.


I was invited by Mayor  Dr. H. Lukman Abunawas, SH, MSi and Environment Chief H. A. Azis Harun, SKM, MKes of Konawe, Sulawesi, Indonesia to join their international conference on mining on February 7, 2011. In May 19, 2009, I was also their speaker in a similar conference where I delivered a paper on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Mining Development.  This year I was tasked to discuss the impact of mining the next generation. This means mining environmental management must be seen in terms of sustainable mining for the next generation. The question is whether the natural metal resources taken from the earth should only serve the present generation or should it leave something for the next generation.


Areas of Concern 

Predominantly Muslim Indonesia and Catholic Philippines come from an Abrahamic religious tradition. Both religions acknowledge respectively Allah and God as creator and supreme being; both have dogmas and doctrines on faith as ultimate guide of human behavior. Their respective religious-cultural experience is a key factor in developing a theocentric framework for sustainable development in the face of increased Asian mining activities. It appears that Asian spirituality is empathetic to the constructs of a sustainable development; Asian anthropological and cultural heritage serve as drivers of sustainable development; and Asian spiritual and religious values balance the material pursuit for profit by enhancing common good through political governance for national progress and supporting civil society’s initiatives for sustainable development.


The paper presents five sustainable frameworks in viewing mining industry’s current and future economic undertaking which impacts on governance, civil and ethnic societies, business practices, and more importantly on the socio-theological interpretations of religious leaders.  Thus, the question of mining sustainability and the future generation begs for an Asian framework from the religious leaders of the Philippines and Indonesia whose influence has been felt by their respective governments, civil society, ethnic citizens and business corporations.


As proof of the negative impact of mining, I have chosen as examples the Marcopper case of the Philippines and the Ok Tedi case of Eastern Papua New Guinea.  The two cases are convenient samples in understanding the recommendations of World Resource Institute whose study on mining specifically mentions the problems in the Philippines and Eastern Papua New Guinea.


This paper seeks to answer the following questions: 1. What is the appropriate sustainable development framework for the mining industry in Southeast Asia? 2. What is the story of the mining companies in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea? 3. What are the recommendations of the mining study of World Research Institute specific to Philippines and New Guinea? 4. What is the responsibility of the present generation in managing mining and related resources for the Next Generation?

Read the Full Context.

Download the Document Click Here >> [SustainMiningPWUEdForum]

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply