DENR open to reviewing new mine projects

August 30, 2016 at 16:00

DENR open to reviewing new mine projects

EO79 is not needed

by Madelaine B. Miraflor | August 26, 2016

The Executive Order (EO) 79, which was signed by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2012 banning the approval of new mining projects, is something that is not the country needs to properly regulate the mining sector.

“EO79 is something I believe is not needed,” new Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) director Mario Luis Jacinto said during the last day of the Philippine Mining Conference held in Pasay.

DENR logo (MB File Photo)

In 2012, Aquino signed Executive Order (EO) 79 on mining wherein no new mineral agreements shall be approved until a legislation rationalizing existing revenue sharing schemes and mechanisms shall have taken effect.

But until now, no new revenue sharing bill on mining was approved.

“We have started the review of EO79, we are looking into  its provisions, what it has accomplished in the years that it has been put in place. We are now looking at the minutes of the meetings, the actions taken… to see if it is really needed,” Jacinto said.

“We are looking into it. It is a numerous three volume document of all the papers related to all the actions taken with regard to the bill,” he added.

Jacinto said that unlike over the last six years wherein no new mining permits were given, this administration will not close its doors to reviewing new mining projects.

“We will, on the basis of existing regulations, submit our policy recommendations and the directions to take [on the review of new applications]. On the basis of that, then a review of the permitting processes will have to be undertaken and deliberate decision how to proceed with it, what is allowed, what should be restricted will be put in place,” Jacinto said in an interview with reporters.

According to Jacinto, the applications for new projects already amounted to “hundreds” since the moratorium was imposed.

“We are now doing the assessment, we are waiting for the results of the audit first then we can take it from there,” Jacinto further said.

This move to repeal the EO79 could cause conflict with the first memorandum order (MO) signed by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez.

Upon taking over, Lopez signed her first MO, calling for an audit of existing mines in the country and imposing a continuing moratorium on the new ones.

This memo 2016-01 is in effect until formally terminated.

Mike Toledo, Philex Mining Corp. Senior Vice President of the Corporate Affairs, earlier said that EO79 is just a mere excuse of the previous government to not accept new mining projects.

“In the EO79, they said no mining permits should be issued until such time that a new revenue sharing scheme is passed by congress. But for some reason or another, it was not passed. So clearly, perhaps, the previous government did not really put importance on the passage of a new revenue sharing bill and just dangle the EO as an excuse so no mining projects will be given,” Toledo said.

As of now, the government is doing an audit on all mining operations in the country which already led to the suspension of 10 mines. “We now expect to get the comments in the audit and the recommendations and then it should turn out to be a good jump off point for industry monitoring,” Jacinto said.

The country’s mining projects that are expected over the next 10 years could go as high as $30 billion, a data from Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) showed.


  All rights to the stock images are owned by Getty Images and its image partners and are protected by United States copyright laws, international treaty provisions and other applicable laws.
Getty Images and its image partners retain all rights and are available for purchase by visiting gettyimages website.

Arangkada Philippines: A Business Perspective — Move Twice As Fast | Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines