The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued Department Administrative Order 2022-04 with subject “Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Protection in Mining Operations” on March 4, 2022. Signed by DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna, DAO 2022-04 aims to strengthen measures to preserve terrestrial and marine biodiversity in mining operations.
DENR Acting Secretary Sampulna further said the policy identifies mandatory biodiversity measures during the exploration, development and utilization and the closure, decommissioning and rehabilitation stages of a mining project. “With this new order, we believe that mining companies will be more mindful of their practices in utilizing the country’s natural and mineral resources,” he pointed out.
Focusing on protecting biodiversity within the mining area, the policy issuance is consistent with responsible mining initiatives. DENR DAO 2022-04 requires mining contractors, permit holders, and permittees to include biodiversity measures in their respective Environmental Work Program, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program, and Final Mine Rehabilitation and/or Decommissioning Plan.
Meanwhile, the order also mandates the progressive rehabilitation, or temporary revegetation of disturbed areas, to be undertaken at every stage of mining operation to restore mined-out areas and allow regeneration of the biodiversity to preserve “ecosystem goods and services.”
Mining companies are also required to integrate biodiversity conservation and protection in their Social Development and Management Program (SDMP). SDMP is the five-year plan of mining contractors and permit holders, which contains plans to support the development and empowerment of host and neighboring communities.
DAO 2022-04 identified various SDMP measures such as “inclusion of biodiversity-friendly enterprises, propagation of native plants, development of green parks, promotion of agroforestry, and other wealth creation projects that would create green jobs to augment livelihood during and after mining.”
DAO 2022-04 was published on April 21, 2022.