President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted the past administration’s nine-year moratorium on new mining agreements, a move he hopes will encourage economic growth.
The moratorium was issued back in 2012 by then President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III, which halted applications for mineral contracts in areas that are protected, tourism development areas, agricultural lands, island ecosystems, and others.
With Duterte’s Executive Order No. 130 – which he signed on Wednesday (April 14), the national government is now able to enter into new mineral agreements. However, it will still be subjected to the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other rules and regulations.
“The Government may enter into new mineral agreements, subject to compliance with the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other applicable laws, rules, and regulations,” scribed in the new executive order.
Under the EO, the Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR) will be tasked with ‘formulating the terms and agreements of new mineral contracts.’
“The DENR shall 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 first section of the EO said.
The department has also been tapped to review existing mining contracts for possible renegotiation of terms and conditions.
All new mining contracts will have to ‘strictly’ follow existing environmental policies and rules, the EO stressed.
Meanwhile, the Depart of Finance (DoF) was asked to cooperate with the environment agency to ‘rationalize existing revenue sharing schemes and mechanisms.’
Before signing this latest executive order, the Duterte administration allowed the lifting of a two-year moratorium for mining exploration permit approvals back in 2018.
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