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Surigao to hold 5th Caraga Mining Summit

Collaborative efforts by public and private stakeholders to ensure
sustainable and self-reliant mining communities will be highlighted at the 5th Caraga Mining Summit, to be held here on April 23-24 at the Hotel Tavern Convention Hall.

The event is organized by the Caraga Chamber of Mines in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) and Community Relations Education and Development Officers (CREDO), a Caraga-based organization.

The summit, which will open with a keynote address by Philippine Chamber of Mines president Benjamin Philip Romualdez, will focus on issues raised at a series of broad-based consultations on the mining industry held earlier in Mindanao.

Plenary sessions will be held on mining-related local revenue and taxation, as well as business permits and licenses, with an emphasis on getting additional funds, more quickly, to communities “hosting” mining operations.

Sessions will also focus on best practices in environmental management and corporate social responsibility.

Commissioner Felicito Masagnay of the National Commission on Indigenous People will give a presentation on how Berong Nickel Corporation , a Palawan-based company, partnered with indigenous communities in pursuing responsible mining and sustainable development.

There will be discussions on the implementation of Social Development and Management Programs (SDMPs) by Caraga local government units and the mining firms operating within their jurisdiction.

The SDMP is a mechanism created in accordance with the 1995 Mining Act, to provide “community development assistance” using funds collected through a levy on mining companies’ reported direct mining and milling costs.

Last month, in response to multisectoral recommendations presented at the consultative mining forum held in Davao City in September 2008, the Department of Finance, Bureau of Internal Revenue and Department of Budget and Management released a joint circular on timelines designed to expedite the processing and release of the funds to local governments for implementing SDMPs.

At next week’s Summit, participants will review laws, regulations and programs pertaining to the mining industry, and propose ways to improve and harmonize their implementation. A summary of recommendations will be presented to DENR Secretary Jose Atienza at the closing.

The Caraga region is the largest exporter of minerals in Mindanao, with Japan, China and Australia as its main foreign markets. -Caraga Chamber of Mines

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