How Safety Performance is Measured in PH Mine Sites
by Marcelle P. Villegas - March 21, 2022
Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association presented the virtual edition of 67th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference (ANMSEC) last November 24-26, 2021 with the theme "Pusong Minero: Celebrating 67 years of responsible mining with the quiet heroes of the pandemic." The event was also made possible in cooperation with the DENR-MGB.
One of the highlights of this annual event is the awarding of the best mining companies. The winners of the 2021 Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award are the following:
~ Mineral Processing Category: Mindanao Mineral Processing & Refining Corporation
~ Quarry Operation Category: Republic Cement and Building Materials, Inc. – Bulacan
~ Surface Mining Operation Category: Berong Nickel Corporation
PMSEA and DENR- MGB also recognize the Mine Safety - Best Practices and key speakers from the industry who have stories and milestones to share during the occasion.
One of the guest speakers was Engr. Marcial H. Mateo (Chief, Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division, Mines and Geosciences Bureau). His presentation’s title is “Mine Safety and Health Management”.
Laws on Mine Safety and Health
Engr. Mateo’s topic is relevant not only to people within the industry but also to those who believe in anti-mining sentiments. Why? It is possible that some people dislike mining because they are unfamiliar with the complexities of owning and managing a mine site.
Mining is not just getting minerals from the ground. There are laws in our country that regulate and mandates a lot of requirements from mining companies. We have laws about the protection of our environment, and laws that protect the rights and safety of workers as well. Engr. Mateo’s presentation starts with an enumeration of Philippines laws that cover mining companies, particularly Laws on Mine Safety and Health.
From Mines and Geosciences Bureau, they have:
~ RA 7942 - PH Mining Act
~ DAO No. 2010-21 - IRR of RA 7942
~ DAO No. 2000-98 - Mine Safety and Health Standards, 2000
~ DAO No. 1997-30 - Small-scale Mine Safety Rules and Regulations
~ MC No. 2021-006 - Safety and Health, Environment and Social Development and Management (SHES) Manual
~ MC No. 2018-02 - Guidelines for Compliance Monitoring and Rating Scorecard of Mining Permits/Contracts
Mining companies also comply with laws from Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), namely:
~ PD 442 - Labor Code of the Philippines
~ RA 11058 - An Act Strengthening the Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards
~ RA 10757 - An Act reducing the retirement age of mine workers from 60 to 50
~ OSH Standards as Amended, 1989 (Yellow Book)
From Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), mining companies follow the:
~ PD 1185 - Fire code of the Philippines
~ RA 9561 - Laws on illegal possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition of explosives
Lastly, Department of Health’s laws on health and safety addresses particular health concerns and diseases. Mining companies comply with these laws and guidelines as well.
~ PD No. 856 - Sanitation Code of the Philippines
~ RA 9165 - Drug free workplace
~ RA 11036 - Mental Health Service in the Workplace
~ EO 187-03 - Tuberculosis
~ DOLE DA 05-2010 - Hepatitis B
~ RA 8504 - AIDS and HIV
Safety and Health Workplan
A workplan in important in a mine site as this provides guidelines on how to properly implement the laws and requirements that covers the various aspects of health and safety.
Mine Safety and Health Standards
This states that “All Contractors, Permittees, Lessees, Permit Holders and Service Contractors shall strictly comply with all the rules and regulations embodied under Department Administrative Order No. 2000-98, otherwise known as the ‘Mine Safety and Health Standards.’"
Annual Safety and Health Program
The Regional Director shall require a Contractor, Permittee, Lessee, or Permit Holder to submit a Safety and Health Program covering its area of operations within fifteen (15) working days before the start of every calendar year with the following terms and conditions listed in Elements of SHP chart.
DAO 2000-98 - Mine Safety and Health Standards
In order to assure mine safety and health standards, there are certain steps and requirements to follow. DAO 2000-98 provides some specifications on the matter. The first step is the establishment of a safety and health organization, and then having trained safety officers within the organization.
“Employer shall establish and provide for a safety and health office which is independent from other offices under the direct and immediate control and supervision of the Manager who shall be primarily responsible for the formulation and effective implementation of the company's safety and health program and enforcement of these rules and regulations.”
What are the basic qualifications of a Safety Officer? All Safety Engineers and Safety Inspectors of mining/quarrying operations shall be duly registered with the Regional Office and the corresponding permit shall be issued for this purpose (MGB Form Nos. 15-1, 15-2 and 15-3). For permanent registration of Safety Engineers, one is required to be a current licensed Mining Engineer with at least one (1) year supervisory experience in mining /quarrying operations and/or mine safety work; or currently licensed Engineer, Geologist or Chemist with at least five (5) years experience in mining/quarrying operations and/or mine safety work. The applicant for the position must undergo 40 hours of OSH training/seminars.
Permanent Registration for Safety Inspectors should be a graduate in any Engineering, Geology or Chemistry course with at least one (1) year experience in safety work or two (2) years of experience in mining operations; or a college undergraduate in any Engineering, Geology or Chemistry course with at least two (2) years of experience in safety work or three (3) years of experience in mining operations; or at least high school graduate with four (4) years of experience in safety work or five (5) years of experience in mining operations.
A Permanent Safety Engineer/Inspector permits shall be subject to renewal every three (3) years with the Regional Office. A Temporary Safety Engineer/Inspector Permit shall have a term of one (1) year from the date of issuance thereof, renewable every year.
Employees with at least ten (10) years of experience either in safety work or mining operation may be deputized by the employer as safety men, with the designation of a deputy safety inspector which shall be reported to the Regional Office.
Health Hazard Control
There are a lot of health hazards in a mine site. The guideline states, “An employer may not establish an emergency hospital and/or dental clinic in his workplace as required where there is a hospital or dental clinic located not more than five (5) kms. away from the workplace, or which can be reached in twenty-five (25) minutes of travel. Appropriate standby emergency transport vehicle shall be provided by the employer for the immediate transfer of the sick/injured worker to the hospital.”
Other safety measures that are required include having a Central Safety and Health Committee (CSHC) which is supposed to be established within one month from the start of the operation. The CSHC shall provide a forum for consultation and cooperation between the employer or manager of the mine, employees and members in initiating, developing and implementing measures designed to ensure the safety and health of employees at the mine. It shall also conduct a monthly safety meeting and the minutes of which to be submitted to the manager/employer and the Bureau/Regional Office.
Safety and Health Training is also required to be provided by the employer to the employees. Employees with no surface/underground mining experience shall experience shall receive no less than twenty-four (24) hours of training. And the, all employees shall receive no less than eight (8) hours of refresher training no less than once each twelve (12) months.
Another requirement is the Emergency Response and Preparedness Program. The employer shall ensure the preparation of an emergency response preparedness program prior to commencement of any mining operation which covers the identification of hazards that might cause emergency at the mine, assessment of every perceivable risk that may lead to a medical emergency, and to have controlling measures that will prevent or deal with the emergency. An emergency drill should be conducted quarterly for effectiveness of the program. Employers is required to submit to MGB a copy furnished to the Regional Office, a report on the conduct of the emergency drill.
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Marcelle P. Villegas - March 21, 2022
Paste Backfill System - A Game Changer in Safety in the Mine
There are many ways and technological advancements that are used in mine sites that prevent disasters and address issues like ground stability at end of mine. One of the most fascinating techniques used by OceanaGold Corp. in assuring the safety of employees and protecting the environment is the use of the Paste Backfill System. Paste backfill is an engineered mixture of fine solid particles (with binder) and water. The paste mixture can be placed in stopes (an excavation in a mine or quarry in the form of a step or notch), and binders may be added (or not) depending on the kind of strength needed for the backfill. Paste backfills are also important in tailings management and mine backfill alternative. Binders are used in paste backfill where structural strength is required of the backfill and where resistance to liquefaction is necessary.
Marcelle P. Villegas - March 17, 2023
PMSEA Returns: 68 Years of Responsible Mining Resilience, Reset, Recovery
[Baguio City] After two years of postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) finally returned last year to launch once again the Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference in Baguio City (ANMSEC) on its 68th year. It has been a tradition for decades that stakeholders and other participants from the mining industry gather yearly in the City of Pines for this event. ANMSEC remains one of the major events in the industry. This year’s conference was held last November 15 to 18, 2022. This year’s theme is “68 Years of Responsible Mining Resilience. Reset. Recovery.”  The ANMSEC began in the 1950s. Back then, the organising group was called Baguio City Mine Safety Operators Association, and was later called PMSEA. The objective was to promote the advocacy on the practice of occupational health and safety, sound environmental management, and social development among mining companies operating in the country. PMSEA is a volunteer organization that promotes responsible mining in order to counter the misinformation like anti-mining and anti-science beliefs that hinders progress of the industry.  An early morning holy mass was held on the first day of the conference to open the 4-day exploration and mining exhibit and mining workshop at the CAP John Hay Convention Center. Later in the afternoon, PMSEA officials, headed by President Louie Sarmiento and other stakeholders in the mining industry had a press conference at the Baguio Country Club. Welcome cocktails were sponsored by the Civic Merchandising.
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Philippine Resources - June 10, 2023
DMCI Mining Targets 1.5 Million WMT Nickel Ore Shipment in 2023
Photo Credit: dmcihouse.net DMCI Mining Corporation is targeting to ship 1.5 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore in 2023, after its subsidiary Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDMC) was granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) in January to produce 2 million WMT of nickel ore. Prior to the ECC issuance, ZDMC was only allowed to extract 1 million WMT. “We have the necessary facilities and mitigating measures to minimize the impact of our operations on the environment. With these in place, we’re targeting to produce anywhere between 1.7 million to 2 million tons of nickel ore this year,” said DMCI Mining president Tulsi Das C. Reyes. From January to March, ZDMC nickel ore production soared by 88 percent from 318,000 WMT to 599,000 WMT, its highest-ever quarterly output. This led to a 16-percent improvement in total inventory, from 154,000 WMT to 178,000 WMT. However, total shipment declined by 21 percent from 620,000 WMT to 487,000 WMT owing to the depletion of the BNC mine and stockpile, cushioned by the double-digit growth of ZDMC shipment. Average selling price increased by 11 percent from USD44 to USD49 owing to higher Zambales shipments of higher-grade nickel ore. Despite the mine and stockpile depletion of Berong, DMCI Mining standalone revenues narrowly declined (-8%) from P1.4 billion to P1.3 billion due to better selling prices while reported net income contracted by 15 percent from P543 million to P463 million.
Philippine Resources - June 10, 2023
DMCI Power to build wind facility in Semirara Island
Leading off-grid electricity generator DMCI Power Corporation (DPC) is set to build a wind power plant in Semirara Island, home of the biggest coal reserve in the Philippines. DPC intends to finalize the wind power capacity in the coming months, with projections ranging from 8 to 12 MW, and operational implementation expected within 12 to 15 months. The project will be funded and undertaken independently by the company. “We are also looking at solar energy to augment the supply in the island, but we are prioritizing wind resource development because it has shown the most promise,” said DPC president Antonino E. Gatdula, Jr. “Current studies suggest that wind power could potentially deliver a 33% plant utilization rate, compared to just 17% for solar. Capital expenditure per megawatt for both wind and solar projects are also roughly the same,” he explained. In a 2001 wind resource study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a United States Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory, it was found that Semirara Island has some of the best wind resources in the Philippines. The wind corridors between Luzon and Panay (including Semirara Islands and extending to the Cuyo Islands) were found to have good-to-excellent wind power density and speed for utility-scale or village power applications. DPC is in the process of validating these wind resource estimates to determine the final location and capacity of its wind project.
Philippine Resources - June 05, 2023
Semirara Mining and Power Corporation eyes Japanese market expansion
Photo credit: Bilyonaryo Integrated energy company Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) is set to make its second trial shipment to Japan this June, in a bid to reduce its dependency on the Chinese market. The company will export 50,000 metric tons (MT) of Semirara coal to Shikoku Electric Power Corporation for its 700-megawatt coal fired ultra-supercritical power station. “China is still our main foreign buyer but with their industrial output growing slower than expected, we want to develop other Asian markets like Japan,” said SMPC president and COO Maria Cristina C. Gotianun. From January to March, Semirara coal shipments to China plunged by 50 percent from 2.2 million MT to 1.1 million MT, accounting for 72 percent of exports. South Korea was a steady market at 300,000 MT, representing one-fifth of export sales. The rest of the exports went to Japan (5%) and Brunei (3%). SMPC first made a trial shipment to Japan in January 2023, selling 78,410 MT of mid-grade coal to J-Power, a utility company that operates coal, hydroelectric, wind and geothermal power stations. “For 2023, we are targeting to export around 30 percent of our full-year sales target of 15 to 16 million MT,” added Gotianun. In the first quarter, standalone coal revenues sank by 40 percent from P25.7 billion to P15.5 billion mainly due to high base effect of record production, shipments and selling prices. Standalone reported net income slumped by 51 percent from P14.2 billion to P7 billion on topline weakness and slower decline in cash costs.
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