In consonance with the directives of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to regulate mining operations towards sustainable development, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu issued DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2018-19, in re: Guidelines for Additional Environmental Measures for Operating Surface Metallic Mines.

DAO No. 2018-19, signed on August 17, 2018, aims to provide new environmental policies that will ensure sustainable environmental conditions at every stage of mining operation, and minimize the disturbed area of a mining project at any given time.

The Order covers all Mineral Agreements (MAs), Financial or Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs), and other similar mining tenements having surface metallic mines under development, construction or operating stage.

Among the additional environmental measures that shall be incorporated in the work program of the MAs/FTAAs and other mining tenements include the following: (1) topsoil and subsoil management; (2) buffer zone management; (3) pier stockyard as temporary stockpile area for ore shipment; and (4) maximum disturbed area for nickel mines.

The same also provides a maximum area of extraction of ore at any given time depending on the scale of mining operations, as follows:

Scale of Mining Operation

 (Wet Metric Tons/Year)

Maximum Disturbed Area

1 Million or less

50 hectares

More than 1 Million but less than 3 Million

60 hectares

3 Million but less than 5 Million

70 hectares

5 Million but less than 7 Million

80 hectares

7 Million but less than 9 Million

90 hectares

9 Million and up

100 hectares

For projects that have a processing plant or for those with long term supply agreement with a domestic processing plant, the maximum disturbed area for extraction shall be 162 hectares or two meridional blocks.

However, areas utilized for ancillary facilities, such as settling ponds, stock yards, sumps, motorpools, administrative offices, and other similar facilities, shall not be included in the above maximum disturbed area limit.

Furthermore, temporary revegetation or progressive rehabilitation shall be implemented immediately on the disturbed areas exceeding the maximum disturbed area limit.

During the course of operation, should the Contractor or holder of other mining tenements intend to open an additional area beyond the maximum disturbed area limit, an equivalent area should undergo temporary revegetation or progressive rehabilitation to ensure that the maximum disturbed area limit is strictly observed.

The areas for development/utilization and temporary revegetation or progressive rehabilitation should clearly be defined in the pertinent Three-Year Development/Utilization Work Program and Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP)/Annual EPEP.

The areas for temporary revegetation not utilized for mining operations for a period of three years shall immediately be subject to progressive rehabilitation.

All Contractors or holders of other mining tenements covered by this Order shall post an annual performance bond of five million pesos                                         in a duly licensed bonding company to guarantee compliance and implementation of the temporary revegetation and/or progressive rehabilitation of the disturbed areas beyond the maximum disturbed area limit.

Full text of DAO No. 2018-19 can be downloaded at here.

By: Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division