To ensure sustainable mining, the government mandates all mineral exploration, mining development and mineral processing projects to implement a safety, health environment and social development (SHES) programs. This has always been a requirement for a mining contractor or permit holder in all phases of its project.
The social, environmental and social development aspects of a mining project are clearly defined in the mining law, RA 7942, and implementing rules and regulations. Clarifying further the details in implementing the SHES program, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau issued a memorandum circular, MGB Memorandum Circular 2021-006, which provides for the Safety and Health, Environment, and Social Development and Management (SHES) Manual. The SHES manual serves as guide for the Mining Contractors, Permit Holders/Permittees in the development and implementation of specific and sound SHES management practices during all the phases of mineral exploration/mining/mineral processing projects.
A review of the existing annotated outlines and guidelines paved the way for the harmonization of SHES requirements consistent with the Sustainable Development principle, which is giving of tantamount importance to meeting the pro-people and pro-environment needs of society in pursuing development.
The SHES Manual provides an annotated outline and guidelines for the preparation of SHES plans and programs, such as Safety and Health Program; Environmental Work Program; Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program; Final Mine Rehabilitation and/or Decommissioning Plan; and Social Development and Management Program.
In the said policy, plans and programs that are already under the review of the MGB and other interagency Committees (e.g. Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committee (MRFC), Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund Steering Committee (CLRFSC), etc.) when the memorandum circular was issued need not be revised. Moreover, new plans and programs that are yet to be submitted to MGB shall have to subscribe with the provisions of the SHES Manual.
Intended users of the standardized guidelines and outlines Mining Contractors/Permit Holders/Permittees, the MGB Central Office and its Regional Offices, including other interagency committees (e.g. MRFC, CLRFSC, etc.) for the preparation, review, evaluation, and approval of the SHES plan and programs.
The conceptualization and preparation of the SHES Manual evolved from a series of virtual meetings of Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division (MSESDD) and MGB-CO personnel at the height of community quarantine. “Hence, it is said to be the brainchild of MSESDD during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.”
MGB MC 2021-006 was published in a newspaper of general circulation on June 12, 2021 and was acknowledged by the Office of the National Administrative Register on June 22, 2021.
(Original article posted by: Mine Safety, Environment, and Social Development Division, MGB Central Office)