Expert praises Philex for passing Lopez’ mine audit

TUBA, Benguet -- A technical-review expert has praised Philex Mining Corp. for having passed the recently concluded mine audit conducted by government on large-scale miners nationwide, articulating his seeming disbelief in a banter during a forum.

“I think your best award is having passed the audit of [Environment Secretary] Gina Lopez,” said Rolando Remitar, lead auditor at TÜV Rheinland stressing his amazement with the gold-and-copper producer’s community-development efforts and its various awards on environmental protection.

Remitar was speaking before Philex Mining’s executives and managers to mark a regular review of the company’s Integrated Management System (IMS) certificate, at Padcal mine’s Smith Hall recently.

“We are not here to find faults; we are here to find compliance,” he assured the company, which became IMS-certified in April 2015. “We have positive findings already. Also, 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 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.

“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,” he told the DENR mine-audit team. (PR)

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