Mining and stewardship

August 11, 2022 Bro. Clifford T. Sorita 194 views

SoritaThe Catholic of the Catholic Church uses the word stewardship in terms of the earth. The Bible tells us that God gave us the earth to use wisely for our generation and the next. We need to use the resources to support human life. If we overuse the resources, you’re stealing from the next generation. And so, we need to be good stewards of what God has given to us. We don’t own them. We share them with the next generation. This means it is our responsibility to steward it, to use and create resources that are renewable. That would be the best stewardship. Instead of using resources that cannot be replaced, we have an obligation in stewardship of the earth to find resources that are renewable so that the next generation isn’t stuck with the lack of resources that God has given to them. And it’s our responsibility to make sure that those resources are available to them.

We need to do what we can to renew resources, rather than waste them. We also may not be the person that caused problems, but we are responsible to fix it. Like it or not, we are in it together when it comes to stewardship issues. We are responsible not for its cause, but we are responsible for dealing with the problem. If we inherit problems caused by other people, our job is to be responsible in lessening the harm that any problem has caused in the world – pollution or the misuse of resources and environmental damage. We need to take care of the world that God has given to us to take care of for the next generation.

In the context of mining, Stewardship can be observed if it can strategically address three crucial concerns: (1) Environmental Degradation; (2) Dislocation of Indigenous People; and (3) Inequitable Sharing of Mining Benefits.

The fears of ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION can be allayed if government can truly be responsive in fully implementing Environmental Impact Assessment and imposition of the ECC (Environmental Compliance Certificate); mandatory deposits of environmental protection and mine rehabilitation fund; multi-partite monitoring teams involving community representatives, environmental insurance coverage; and rehabilitation of abandoned mines.

To avoid the DISLOCATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE it must be the policy of the state that NO MINING PROJECTS can be allowed without the community of Indigenous People’s (IP) free and prior informed consent. This will ensure not only the protection of our compatriot’s rights under the law but likewise guarantee long term community acceptability and support. Moreover, if the IPs would issue their consent, the implementing rules of the Mining Act provides that IPs would be given at least 1% of the mining company’s annual gross revenue, in support of the IP community socio-economic and livelihood projects.

Finally, in addressing the INEQUITABLE SHARING OF MINING BENEFITS the release of the LGU’s 40% share of all taxes and fees derived from the exploration of the locale’s natural resources must be free from all bureaucratic problems. Furthermore, all operating mining companies (as mandated by law) must promptly implement the required Social Management and Development Program (SDMP) for the benefit of the host communities. The SDMP should be a program developed and agreed upon between the company and the community. This program is to be supported by fund support from the mining companies, in an amount equivalent to at least 1% of the annual direct mining and milling costs.

In the spirituality of stewardship, the environment should never be sacrificed — that “an economy respectful of the environment will not have the maximization of profit as its only objective, because environmental protection cannot be assured solely on the basis of financial calculations … The environment is one of those goods that cannot be adequately safeguarded or promoted by market forces” (St. John Paul II, Centisimus Annus).

As explained in Catechism, no. 2402: “In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.”

God did not expect only one person to be the steward of all creation. Rather, He blessed Adam and Eve and made them fruitful. Filling the earth is the means by which the earth becomes subdued by man. This essential truth is embodied in the right to life. Each person born contributes to the well-being of society. Through prayer, work, and discovery, each person allows others to grow in knowledge and holiness. Thus, no one person rules the earth. Collectively, we are stewards of the earth. We are not only responsible for the earth; we are also accountable for it.


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