TO expedite the evaluation and development of mining projects, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has revised the guidelines in the classification and reporting standards of exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves.
In DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2023-05, recently signed by Secretary Antonia Loyzaga, it amended DAO 2010-09 in order to allow the mining industry to adopt advances and upgrades of internationally accepted standards as set out in the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code of 2020 (PMRC 2020).
The move is also part of the agency’s effort to harmonize and streamline the entire reporting process related to mineral exploration results.
Loyzaga urged the mining contractors, permittees, permit holders and operators, and mining applicants to comply with the new guidelines.
Under the new guidelines, it updated some terminologies, such as replacing “Competent Person” with Accredited Competent Person” or ACP, to refer to an industry professional duly accredited by the Philippine Society of Mining Engineers (PSEM), the Geological Society of the Philippines (GSP), and the Society of the Metallurgical Engineers of the Philippines (SMEP), or other similar professional organizations accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission (RPC).
It also replaced the terms “ore reserve” with “mineral reserve” and “potential or target mineral resources” with “exploration targets.”
The updated guidelines also entailed consideration of “modifying factors,” which are applied to mineral resources to support mine planning and final evaluation of the economic viability of mineral deposits before they are converted to mineral reserves.
These may include mining, processing, metallurgical, infrastructure, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social, and governmental factors.
The latest DAO provided an expanded or detailed checklist of assessment or reporting criteria that must be considered by an ACP in preparing a report on exploration results, mineral resources, or mineral reserves. Should any item in the checklist not be discussed, the ACP must explain the reason for such.
Section 5 of DAO 2023-05 also introduced technical studies, which include scoping, pre-feasibility, and feasibility studies.
Other revisions include the required reporting of metal equivalents, as well as non-technical aspects of reporting of items, notably commodity pricing and marketing, permitting, legal requirements, and sustainability considerations.
The new DAO also requires ACPs to prepare the necessary reports for public disclosure. Specifically, reporting of exploration results and mineral resources shall be disclosed by ACP geologist, while that for mineral reserves shall be disclosed by ACP mining engineer.
Additionally, the ACP metallurgical engineer shall disclose reporting of metallurgical test works that form part of a feasibility study of a mineral project.
Mineral industry players will be given a transition period of two years from the approval of DAO 2023-05 to adjust to the revised guidelines.
Prior to PMRC 2020, the industry had been adopting public reporting standards set under PMRC 2007, which was then compatible with the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) Code of 2004 and the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO) International Reporting Template of 2006.
The CRIRSCO Template and the JORC Code have since been upgraded in 2019 and 2012, respectively, rendering the PMRC 2007 incompatible with its standards.
The revision of the PMRC to its 2020 edition was undertaken by the PMRC Committee, whose member organizations include PSEM, GSP, and SMEP, along with minerals industry-related organizations and bodies, such as the Philippine Stock Exchange Inc., the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, the Philippine Mining and Exploration Association, the Philippines-Australia Business Council, and the Philippine Chamber of Coal Mines.