By Marcelle P. Villegas
Last November 20-23, 2018 marks the 65th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference (ANMSEC) in CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center. The event was organised by the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA). In the Philippines, PMSEA is the leader in promoting occupational safety and health, sound environmental management and social responsibility in the minerals industry.
PMSEA works in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau as well as with the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, the Philippine Society of Mining Engineers (PSEM), other mining companies, quarries, cement plants, suppliers, service contractors and other professional organizations.
On the Opening Day Ceremony, PMSEA President Dr. Walter W. Brown gave the Welcome Remarks. South African Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Martin Slabber along with officers and directors of PMSEA participated in the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony.
The Mayor of Baguio City, Honorable Mauricio G. Domogan joined the ANMSEC celebration later that day along with the other PMSEA officers like Atty. Wilfredo Moncano, Mr Ramon Santiago and Engr. Louie Sarmiento who is the Immediate Past President of PMSEA.
“It has been 6 decades of promoting Responsible Mining in the hearts and minds of Filipinos. With the theme ‘65 years of Responsible Mining Industry and Regulator Together in Promoting and Advocating Responsible Mining’, we believe that it is only through the collaborative efforts of both the industry and regulator will we be able to maintain a safe and sound, environmental-compliant and community-supported Mining Industry,“ said Mr Roel A. Colado, Chapter President. “We have been conducting worthwhile projects and upholding values and beliefs of our organisation.”
For the week-long celebration of ANMSEC in Baguio City, the highlight of the event in the mining industry were the following:
● PMSEA Immersion and Excursion Activity with Baguio Students
● Welcome Cocktails at Baguio Country Club
● Sports Fest (Badminton, Golf, Bowling and Lawn Tennis)
● Mining Exhibit by Mining Companies and Suppliers
● 4th National Minerals Industry Student Congress of students taking up BS Mining Engineering, BS Geology, BS Metallurgical Engineering and other related mining and geology courses
● 6th Community Relations Officers Conference in cooperation with National Community Relations Practitioners in the Philippine Mining/Minerals Industry
● Minerals Industry Symposium in cooperation with Philippine Society of Mining Engineers
● Minerals Industry Parade
● Mine Safety Field Demonstration and Field Competition on First Aid, Machine Drilling, Hand Mucking, Tug-of-Peace, Fire Extinguishing and Fire Brigade)
● Testimonial Dinner and Annual Awards Night
On November 21, 2018, the 6th National Community Relations Officers Conference was held with the theme “Sustained partnership of regulators, mining industry & communities as pillars for developing a progressive society”. In this conference, they emphasised the important role of mining companies in educating and communicating with the public about the contribution of their mining company to the environment and to the whole country in general. Deploying smart and effective communication techniques are essential in relaying science-based information to a layperson who has no science background in order for them to understand the operations in a mining project. By consistently promoting correct information using all possible communication tools, mining companies will have a better reputation and better support from the public, rather than being unfairly stereotyped and generalised as destroyers of the environment.
On November 22, 2018 was the schedule for the “Minerals Industry Symposium”. Dr. Walter W. Brown stated, “This symposium discusses and chooses best practices which are consistent with principles of sustainable development. Initially as a geologist and then as a mining executive for 58 years, I am pleased to have witnessed a gradual and broader appreciation of respect for the environment and responsible mining practices.” He concluded, “Rest assured that the PMSEA will support and participate in meaningful industry and government initiatives to bring about positive change for our industry and more importantly for the Filipino people.”
Mr Roger A. De Dios, President of the Philippine Society of Mining Engineers said, “Over the years, the mining industry faced its ups and downs, but it is only in this current decade that it confronted severe anti-mining sentiments and stringent policy directions. Nevertheless, the mining industry has survived for we have shown that the industry and the government, as regulator, have satisfactorily done their share in fostering and carrying out responsible mining.”
“We have to realize that minerals are so important in our life. ‘Without mining, life would be so difficult and uncomfortable.’ It is in this premise that we, as mining professionals, have the responsibility of making life on earth pleasant for all without compromising the environment,” said Mr De Dios.
He further noted, “It is for this reason that the Philippine Society of Mining Engineers (PSME) will always be in the forefront in its advocacy in promoting responsible mining and even espousing beyond compliance. This Minerals Industry Symposium is one venue for presentations of best mining practices and principles reflecting sustainable development in the extractive industry.”
The PSME-Northern Luzon Chapter organised and hosted this year’s Mineral Industry Symposium.