Government Moves to Regulate Small Scale Mining
The government has moved in to regulate and formalise the small-scale mining industry to boost economic recovery.
According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in a recent virtual forum, the agency is now crafting amendments to Republic Act 7076 or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991. Some of these new provisions include regulating the use of explosives for small-scale mining, the requirement for small-scale miners to provide funds for the environment - which remain tax-free until now.
“It needs to be revised to be attuned with the current times. In reality now, small-scale mining is not done manually unlike before,” MGB acting director Wilfredo Moncano said.
“They need to contribute to environmental protection, when you aggregate that, it would be huge. We will require small-scale mining operators to contribute funds for environmental protection and safety.”
The government has been trying to regulate small-scale mining but nothing has been done. Last year, the government issued stricter compliance on the disposal of residual stockpiles or ores extracted before - but not yet thrown away during the mining contract.
Meanwhile, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Jim Sampulna said small-scale miners have been the problem of the agency, although the agency has pointed out that they are major contributors to the recovery of the economy.
“While we tax large miners, these small miners are tax-free. And they are earning as much as the same as the big companies,” Sampulna said. “We need to focus on them because it appears that they are becoming syndicates. The mining industry is our last card as far as the economy is concerned.”