New mining policy signed next week
Written by : JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd is expected to sign next week the mining policy statement that will provide a new direction to the country’s mineral sector, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said on Friday.
In an interview on the sidelines of the agency’s 25th anniversary celebration, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje told reporters that they expect President Aquino to officially sign the policy statement after his state visit to the United States.
“The new mining policy will be signed in the next few days. We are just waiting for the President’s arrival from the US,” Paje said.
The Philippine government is trying to extract more revenues from the mining sector in the light of soaring commodity prices and the fact that it is not getting its “fair share” from mineral resources.
Under the law, all mineral resources are owned by the State.
The DENR chief admitted that they are still discussing with various mining companies the proposal to increase the state’s share from mining but said that they have not arrived yet at a consensus with operating mining projects with regards to the revenue sharing scheme.
Paje also hinted that they have already ruled out the possibility of increasing taxes that are imposed on operating mines, stressing that the government does not want to risk committing offenses such as breach of contract and other legalities.
“But definitely, we will impose the new revenue sharing scheme on new projects,” he said.
The official added that under the new revenue sharing scheme, all new mining projects will be subject to a mineral reservation area wherein the government can collect an additional 5-percent royalty fee.
It was gathered that once the mining area is declared a mineral reservation, the government is entitled to collect an additional five percent royalty. The resulting royalty fee would be on top of the 2-percent excise tax.
There are about 339 mining companies under the so-called Mineral Production Sharing Agreement, of which 39 are already operational.
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