A multi-stakeholder forum yesterday promoted the need for stringent planning and regulations to ensure the transparency and accountability of the mining industry’s intensification of the production of energy transition metals (ETMs) such as nickel, copper, and cobalt, among others.
Maya Quirino, advocacy coordinator of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC), raised the need for a just minerals transition policy framework, which plans the minimum metallic material requirement for the country’s clean and renewable energy transition and empowers host communities in the planning, decision making, and accountability processes of mineral governance.
“Government must prioritize the proposed Alternative Minerals Management Bill or AMMB in Congress as it has all the policy elements to ensure that the minerals requirement for energy transition is sustainable. It is anchored on the principles of just transition and energy democracy where communities genuinely benefit and meaningfully co-govern mineral and energy resources,” Quirino said.
Joshua Lopez, the coordinator of the Philippines Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (PH EITI) of the Department of Finance, discussed the Philippines’ commitment to ensuring stricter fiscal, environmental, and socio-economic accountability standards over extractive industries such as mining, quarrying, and fossil fuels.
“In the next years, we will be working on disclosures of national energy transition commitments, policies, and plans that are relevant to extractive industries, as well as disclosures on carbon pricing mechanisms and carbon taxes material to extractive industries. Also, we would work on accountability in fast–track licensed awards,” Lopez said.
The World Bank anticipates a 500% increase in the global demand for ETMs because of the energy transition race to reduce global warming-inducing fossil fuel burning. The forum organizers noted that the Philippines is a prime source of ETMs and is at risk of uncontrolled adverse ecological and human rights impacts if not met with a robust regulatory regime.
The forum, organized by the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) and the SOS-Yamang Bayan Network, probed deeper questions on the energy and development paradigm of the national government and the need for systems change.
“We should reclaim the idea of energy as a public good, not for profit. Our system privatized many of our public goods, and so, the motivation for harnessing resources is in conflict with how we envision the solutions to be. Here also so that we reclaim the dignity of governance, as once we appreciate these things as a matter of public good, we can more clearly appreciate the value and challenges surrounding mineral and energy management,” said Atty. E.M. Taqueban, executive director of LRC.