The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a new order which provides guidelines for responsible mining towards ensuring the protection and mitigation of the negative impacts on biodiversity, thereby promoting sustainable development and utilization of the country’s natural and mineral resources.

According to DENR Sec. Jim O. Sampulna, the DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2022-04 or the “Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Protection in Mining Operations” will intensify strict implementation of responsible mining practices.

“We have repeatedly mentioned in the past that mineral extracting operations can be done responsibly, that the rich biodiversity within the mine site can be protected. Thus, this order is expected to support our responsible mining initiative,” Sec. Sampulna said.

DAO No. 2022-04 applies to all stages of on-shore and off-shore mining operations including exploration, development and utilization, closure, decommissioning, and rehabilitation.

This order also mandates that progressive rehabilitation be undertaken in every stage of mining operation “to restore mined-out areas close to its natural ecosystems and to allow regeneration of biodiversity in order to sustain ecosystem goods and services.”

The biodiversity measures as provided in DAO No. 2022-04 shall be integrated in the Environmental Work Program, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program, and Final Mine Rehabilitation and/or Decommissioning Plan, or any related and relevant plans of all existing mining applications and approved mining tenements.

Mining companies are also mandated to integrate biodiversity conservation and protection in their Social Development and Management Program. The DAO identifies various 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.”

The Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), and their regional counterparts, shall be included as members of the Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund Steering Committee, the Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committee, and Multipartite Monitoring Team as per DAO NO. 2010-21 (the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7942 or the “Philippine Mining Act of 1995”).

Within one year upon issuance of the order, the BMB and Mines and Geosciences Bureau shall jointly prepare the detailed guidelines on integrating biodiversity in small-scale mining, with the ERDB also conducting additional scientific research.

The full version of DAO No. 2022-04 can be accessed through this link: https://apidb.denr.gov.ph/infores/uploads/DAO-2022-04.pdf