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Mining Groups Applaud Lifting of Ban

by Philippine Resources - April 18, 2021

The Philippine Chamber of Mines applauded the lifting of the nine-year ban on new mining ventures.

“A major roadblock to the huge potential of the Philippine mining industry to contribute to socio-economic growth has been removed,” COMP said in a statement.

“We welcome the lifting of the moratorium on new mining projects – in place for nearly nine years – in this time of great national difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the miner's group said.

The government "may enter into new mineral agreements, subject to comply with the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations," according to President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order 130.

The order lifted Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III 2012 ,'s ban on new mining ventures.

“Mining projects that will be allowed to operate following this development will provide additional government revenues in the form of taxes and fees, royalty fees, and increase in export value, as well as employment opportunities for thousands of Filipinos, especially those in rural areas,” COMP said.

“The industry’s positive impact on host communities can be clearly seen in regions around the country where mining has been allowed to flourish, such as in Caraga and MIMAROPA,” it added.

Duterte said in his EO that the Philippines has only used about 5% of its natural resources endowment.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is charged to "formulate the terms and conditions in the new mineral agreements that will maximize government revenues and share from production, including the possibility of declaring these areas as mineral reservations to obtain appropriate royalties, in accordance with existing laws, rules, and regulations."

Similarly, the President's Executive Order directed the DENR to review current mining contracts and settlements in order to renegotiate the terms and conditions.

The DENR and the Department of Finance, on the other hand, will take steps to streamline current revenue-sharing programs and processes.

The elimination of the "policy roadblock," according to COMP, would certainly help attract both local and international investments into the country. 

“Since 2010, investor interest in the Philippines has declined. Executive Order 130 will help bring the Philippines back on the investment map,” it said.

New mining agreements, according to EO 130, will stimulate economic development, which is required to fund government programs like Build, Build, Build and the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Scheme.

The government hopes that lifting the ban would result in more job opportunities in remote rural areas where mining is taking place, "thereby stimulating countryside growth."

“We believe that adequate social and environmental laws, rules, and regulations are already in place to mitigate the impact of mining on communities and the environment. Despite this, the members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines have voluntarily adopted the Towards Sustainable Mining program, a global social and environmental performance standard that compels us to operate beyond mere compliance,” COMP said.

“We have also subscribed to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to further demonstrate our commitment to the highest standards of transparency and accountability in business,” it said.

DENR completed a comprehensive analysis of the mining industry's regulatory system and "has [put] in place new laws, legislation, and strategies providing for and reinforcing environmental protections to ensure that mining activities observe environmental security," according to EO 130.

EO 130 also permits DENR to continue issuing Exploration Permits under existing laws, rules, and guidelines.

Following the acceptance of the declaration of mining project feasibility, the beneficiaries of such exploration licenses will have rights under the said regulations, regulations, and guidelines over the permitted exploration area and will be given the right of first choice to cultivate and exploit the minerals in their respective exploration area.

Meanwhile the lifting of the moratorium on new mining deals, according to Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), acknowledges the mining industry's role in economic recovery and expansion.

“PNIA has always maintained the industry’s contribution to countryside development by providing employment opportunities and livelihood, and ensuring the sustainability of our host communities,” it said in a separate statement.

Both parties stated that they would aim to adhere to the highest environmental and social criteria in order to reduce the environmental and social effects of mining on the host communities.



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