Philippines to keep moratorium on new mining projects

December 18, 2018 - 6:22 PM
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Miner in a cave
The Philippines' Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), a government panel overseeing the operations of the country's 41 mines, has deferred a recommendation to lift the six-year-old moratorium on new mining projects. (Philstar/File photo)

MANILA — The Philippines‘ Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), a government panel overseeing the operations of the country’s 41 mines, has deferred a recommendation to lift the six-year-old moratorium on new mining projects, the finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The government imposed the moratorium in 2012 on new mining projects until legislation increasing the government’s share in mining revenues went into effect.

The MICC said that recent increases in mining excise taxes were not enough to meet the required increase the government needed. The excise tax increase is part of the first tranche of a tax reform programme implemented this year, but the MICC said the measure did not cover other mining taxes and fees, including royalty taxes.

A second package of tax reforms, which the House of Representatives has approved and transmitted to the Senate, includes a new mining revenue-sharing scheme that covers other taxes and fees, the finance ministry said.

The MICC, in a December 12 meeting, also agreed to conduct a second round of an “objective, science-based, and fact-finding” review of mining operations next year to cover the remaining 15 mines that were not covered in the first round conducted earlier this year.

The government undertook an audit of the industry’s operations after the environment ministry issued closure and suspension orders against several mines found violating environmental regulations.

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Christian Schmollinger