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Philippine Mining Practices: Effect on Climate Change

By Francisco G. Alba II

Climate Change in the Philippines

Climate change is truly one of the significant challenges of the world today. It has been
heavily documented and there is a plethora of studies which report its grave
consequences should it remain unaddressedglobal warming, flooding, unpredictable
weather patterns, to name a few.
The Philippines as well has begun to experience the effects of climate change. A study
which observed data from 1951-2009 found that there is an increase in annual mean
temperature by 0.57C. They expect the temperature to rise by 3.7C by 2100
(Penarroyo, 2016). Another study also reports the correlation between the increase of
super-typhoons affecting the country and climate change (Perez, 2009).
Admittedly, the Philippines has not been one of the major contributors of climate
change. Its Greenhouse Gas emissions only account for .04% of the world total
(Penarroyo, 2016). Nevertheless, it has been shown that from the years of 1990 to
2010, the Philippines is the fastest growing carbon dioxide emitter in South East Asia
(Penarroyo, 2016).
Taking these into consideration, the Philippines is indeed affected by climate change
and it is in its best interest to take the necessary precautions to address it. While the
Philippines is not a significant contributor thereof, recent trends show that it has the
potential to be such in the future.
Mining in the Philippines
Mining is a contributor to the global warming. It is a diesel dominated industry. Largescale mining is a source of emissions specifically through the use of vehicles during the
project operation, large construction equipment, generators, blasting activities, possible
releases of methane and hydrogen sulfides, and creation of fugitive dusts. Current
mining practices also involve significant deforestation. This is a cause for concern
considering that forests are a carbon sink which help slow the process of climate
change (Center for Environment Concerns, 2014).
Furthermore, not only does mining contribute to climate change, it also aggravates and
makes climate change more keenly felt in affected areas. In the Philippines, there are
case studies which show how irresponsible mining practices have affected certain
localities such as the island of Rapu Rapu, Albay and the highland of Mankayan,
Northern Cordillera. In the case of the island, its inhabitants rely heavily on fishing as a
source of livelihood; however, unpredictable weather patterns have made it difficult for
them to maintain the same. In the case of Mankayan, underground mining combined
with heavy rainfall and topsoil erosion have resulted into land sinking (Center for
Environment Concerns, 2014).

Conclusion & Recommendation

Another way to lessen the effects of global warming is to have companies inculcate into
their risk reduction strategy the vulnerability of certain localities to the effects of climate
change (Magno, 2016). This would not only help avert disasters but could be a financial
boon to companies, considering that millions are lost due to mining disasters.
Also, there should be adherence to international responsible mining standards. One
such is the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). EITI is an international
initiative which aims to improve the governance of the mining sector, among others, by
disclosing important information such as contracts, beneficial owners of mining
operations, social contributions and other pertinent documents that the multistakeholder group identifies as important (Magno, 2016). While Executive Order 147
has committed mining companies in the Philippines to participate in such, not all mining
companies do so since there is no penalty for non-participation. Thus, it is
recommended that legislation should make participation mandatory and penalize the
contrary. Through this, responsible mining can be effectively assessed in the
Also, no-go zones should be more strictly implemented. No-go zones are the areas the
government, specifically the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has
identified which should not be subject to mining for the protection of the said area for
other activities as well as to protect its ecosystem. Nevertheless, it has been stated that,
according to MGB, these maps cannot be used for litigation or referenced for decisionmaking by local government officials because they are not officially released yet.
Thus, there should be a stricter implementation of the no-go zone through legislation or
the like (Magno, 2016).
Lastly, as previously mentioned, mining, particularly in the Philippines, is a dieselpowered industry. Nevertheless, innovation have been made recently and other
countries now boast mining practices involving renewable energy. An example of which
is Rio Tinto's Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada. The mine boasts wind-diesel hybrid
engines which, although is not as reliable as a diesel engines, the wind turbines will
supply enough power to reduce annual fuel use by 10% and the mine's carbon footprint
by 6% (Climate Change Business Journal). Considering the Philippines is one of the
world leaders in wind energy, the use of such could prove to be effective as well, if not
more so.

1. "Climate Change And The Mining Industry".
N.p., 2016. Web. 2 Dec. 2016.
2. "Intersecting Issues: Mining, Charter Change, And Climate Change | Center
For Environmental Concerns". N.p., 2016. Web. 2 Dec.
3. Magno, Dr. Cielo. "Beyond Responsible Mining In The Philippines". ABS-CBN
News. N.p., 2016. Web. 2 Dec. 2016.
4. Penarroyo, Fernando. "Is The Mining Sector Prepared For Climate Change?". N.p., 2016. Web. 2 Dec. 2016.
5. Penarroyo, Fernando. "Is The Philippine Mining Industry Ready To Adapt To
Climate Change? | Philippine Resources Journal".
N.p., 2016. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.
6. Perez, Dr. Rosa. "Climate Change In The Philippines". 2009. Presentation.