$1-B new mining investments seen
MANILA, Philippines - The lifting of the moratorium on new mining permit applications is expected to raise investments in the sector to as much as $1 billion in 2013 over the initial $718 million target.
“A $1 billion mining investments [are] achievable,” Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno said on Sunday, March 17.
“We see a positive outlook in the mineral development sector and the revised target of $718 million will likely be surpassed," he added.
Jasareno noted that as many as 1,200 applications for new mines were previously cancelled by the MGB when the two-year moratorium was imposed may now be submitted again.
“We expect mining companies, both foreign and local to start applying for exploration permits (…) We will expedite the processing of applications for new exploration permits and make sure that we will act on the application within the prescribed period of 6 months upon filing,” he said.
New mining policy
In January 2011, the MGB imposed a moratorium on the acceptance of applications for new mining permits so it would have time to analyze the proposals and so prevent prevent speculators from using their permits to influence stock prices without developing the sites.
Jasareno said of the 2,100 applications reviewed, only 500 passed the standard, while 400 other proposals are still being studied.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently lifted the moratorium, and the MGB will start accepting on March 18 new applications for Exploration Permit (EP) and Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).
However, applications for Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) will still be shelved as Congress needs to restructure the existing revenue-sharing scheme between government and MPSA holders under Executive Order 79, the Aquino administration's mining policy.
Issued in July, EO 79 also banned the issuance of exploration permits until the so-called no-go zones (areas where mining activities would be limited or prohibited) have been identified.
Jasareno earlier said that the MGB has already completed the mapping of the no-go zones and boundaries of prime agricultural lands have been drawn.
Higher filing fees, capital requirements
The DENR also recently raised the filing fees for all mining applications, as stipulated by EO 79:
- The filing fees for applications for both an EP and a mineral agreement have increased to P300/hectare but not less than P200,000 per application, from P60/hectare but not less than P50,000 per application
- The application fee for an FTAA is now P300/hectare but not less than P500,000 per application, from P60/hectare but not less than P100,000 per application
The DENR is also raising the minimum capital requirements for applications for an EP (P100 million from P10 million), mineral agreement (P6.25 million from P2.5 million) and FTAA (P500 million upon grant of the agreement by the President and prior to its registration with the MGB).
All mining applicants with pending applications are required to comply with the new payment regulation within 60 days.
Failure to do so shall warrant the denial of an application “as deemed appropriate by the MGB," the DENR said. - with reports from Carlos Santamaria/Rappler.com