President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order (EO) lifting the nine-year moratorium on mineral or mining agreements and projects.
The move will help the Philippine economy recover amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Duterte signed EO No. 130 on April 14, amending Section 4 of EO No. 79, s. 2012 that prohibits the grant of mineral agreements “until a new legislation rationalizing existing revenue sharing schemes and mechanisms shall have taken effect”.
“The moratorium on mineral agreements under Section 4, EO No. 79 is hereby lifted,” Section 1 of the amended EO 130 read.
Under the new EO, Section 4 of EO No. 79, which was signed by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2012, shall be amended to read as follows: “Section 4. Grant of Mineral Agreements. The Government may enter into new mineral agreements, subject to compliance with Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other applicable laws, rules, and regulation.”
“The DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) may continue to grant and issue Exploration Permits under existing laws, rules, and guidelines. The grantees of such permits shall have the rights under the said laws, rules, and guidelines over the approved exploration area and shall be given the right of first option to develop and utilize the minerals in their respective exploration area upon the approval of the declaration of mining project feasibility,” it added.
The new EO also directs the DENR to “formulate the terms and conditions in the new mineral agreements that will maximize government revenues and share from production, including the possibility of declaring these areas as mineral reservations to obtain appropriate royalties, in accordance with existing laws, rules, and regulations.”
“The DENR shall likewise undertake a review of existing mining contacts and agreements for possible renegotiation of the terms and conditions of the same, which shall in all cases be mutually acceptable to the government and the mining contractor,” the EO read.
The DENR and the Department of Finance are directed “to undertake appropriate measures to rationalize existing revenue sharing schemes and mechanisms.”
EO 130 also directs the DENR to strictly implement mines safety and environmental policies.
Duterte issued EO 130 to usher significant economic benefits to the country.
According to the new EO, the country has tapped less than 5 percent of its mineral resources endowment to date. SOVEREIGNPH