MGB plans to lift ban on new mining projects

December 21, 2017 at 13:00

MGB plans to lift ban on new mining projects

MANILA, Philippines — The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) may soon lift the moratorium on new mining projects as it aims to attract more investments into the local mining sector.

MGB director Wilfredo Moncano expressed hope they would be able to resolve the issues revolving Executive Order 79, which disallows the approval of new mineral agreements until a legislation rationalizing existing revenue sharing schemes and mechanism takes effect.

“That’s our direction. We have reviewed some provisions of EO 79 and we will make this recommendation to the Secretary (Roy Cimatu),” Moncano told reporters on the sidelines of the Towards Sustainable Mining initiative signing on Tuesday.

“We are just looking for the right timing,” he added.

For its part, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said the industry would not grow unless the moratorium on new mining projects is lifted.

“The lifting of the moratorium on new mining projects is premised on an increase in our taxes. We’ve seen the doubling of our excise tax, and I hope that ends the debate on the mining tax,” COMP chairman Gerard Brimo said during the same event.

“If you are a mining company operating in a mineral reservation, you will be paying four percent excise tax plus five percent royalty, that’s already nine percent of our gross. Whether you’re making money or not, that’s quite heavy,” he added.

Furthermore, the government remains positive about the industry’s prospects next year as it expects more investments opportunities  and improved production from mining firms.

 “I would say it would be better than 2017 as there will be a lot of activities and linkages. This will  significantly improve the level of performance of the mining companies,” Moncano said.

Meanwhile, MGB still cannot give an exact timeline as to when the closure and suspension orders, as well as the order on open pit mining ban would be finalized.

“It is with the DENR and we are not a part of the advisory group reviewing the audit. We cannot speculate on the time of release,” he said.

“We push for the lifting of open pit ban but we also respect the decision of the President. It will come at the right time,” Moncano added.


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