Four more mining companies that passed the industry-wide audit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are participating in the agency's program on sustainable integrated area management and development (SIAMD) through responsible mining.

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with representatives of SR Metals Inc. (Agusan del Norte), Agata Mining Ventures Inc. (Agusan del Norte), Philsaga Mining Corp. (Agusan del Sur), and Carmen Copper Corp. (Cebu).

This brings to six the total number of mining firms that joined the SIAMD, a convergence approach designed to create "mini-economic zones" that can generate sustainable employment, livelihood and income-generating activities in communities where businesses can operate, making it a way better alternative to destructive mining.

Last month, Masbate-based mining firms Filminera Resources Corp. and Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corp. have signed memorandums of agreement with the DENR regarding the formulation of a development plan for areas covered by their operations.

As SIAMD participants, the mining firms committed themselves to becoming "advocates of responsible mining," share the DENR's commitment to ensuring the general welfare of the communities, and promoting sustainable natural resources management of affected mining areas through the implementation of their respective area development plan and program (ADPP).

The ADPPs will be aligned with the key initiatives of the DENR, including but not limited to the Enhanced National Greening Program, Biodiversity Program, Biochar Program for Agricultural and Other Wastes, Coastal Research and Management, programs on clean water and clean air, and Solid Waste Management Program.

The accords entered into by the DENR with mining firms were pursuant to Department Administrative Order No. 2017-02 that was issued by Lopez in February.

The administrative order calls for the formulation and implementation of a six-year sustainable integrated area development (SIAD) action plan by the government, civil society and private sector.

Lopez has defined SIAD as "an approach, a strategy and a guiding philosophy that weaves environmental considerations with social justice and human development” and is aimed at applying area-based interventions and concepts on natural resources development programs. ###