Mining rules revised

September 26, 2012 at 17:12

RULES implementing the government’s new mining policy have been revised in the wake of concerns raised by the industry, a Malacañang official yesterday said.

The amended implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Executive Order 79 are still up for President Benigno S. C. Aquino III’s approval but will likely be issued this week, Sec. Ramon S. Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office told BusinessWorld.

“The MICC (Mining Industry Coordinating Council) upon further consultation has agreed to issue a revised IRR on sections that were subject of some contention with the industry,” Mr. Carandang said.

The revised rules, among others, aim to address the industry’s ire over the imposition of new terms and conditions for the renewal of existing 25-year mining contracts.

The MICC, created under EO 79 that was released last July, met yesterday to discuss the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines’ (CoMP) threat to sue the government over Section 9 of the IRR, which states that “mining contracts/agreement that may be renewed shall be subject to new terms and conditions…”

EO 79’s existing IRR, released earlier this month, was heavily criticized in CoMP’s annual conference last week, with officials declaring Section 9 as contrary to Section 32 of the Mining Act of 1995, which states that all mineral agreements have an initial 25-year term and are renewable for up to another 25 years “under the same terms and conditions thereof, without prejudice to charges mutually agreed upon by the parties.”

The revised IRR will now state that “mining contracts/agreements that may be renewed shall be subject to existing laws, rules and regulations at the time of renewal,” a document provided by Mr. Carandang read.

Section 3 of the IRR was also revised to define “expired mining tenements” as contracts whose 25- or 50-year term have lapsed.

“Provided, that in the case of the initial 25-year term, the mining contract/agreement shall be considered expired if the parties concerned fail to agree on the terms of the renewal…,” the document states.

Section 7, which declares that no new mineral agreements will be granted until a new law rationalizing revenue-sharing schemes has been approved, was also revised to stress that the expansion of existing contracts is also subject to existing laws.

“We believe that these revisions will clarify some things that were not clear with them (mining firm),” Mr. Carandang said, stressing that the Palace was not simply caving in to the industry’s demands.

CoMP spokesman Rocky. G. Dimaculangan said the chamber was withholding comment pending a review of the revised IRR.


Source: Noemi M. Gonzales, BusinessWorld. (24 September 2012)

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