Government Lifts Moratorium on Mining Applications

| Source: BusinessWorld Online
THE GOVERNMENT generated around P32 million in revenue after less than a month since it lifted the moratorium on the acceptance of mining applications.

“The government, through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), generated a total of P31.7 million in revenues from filing and processing fees when it resumed accepting new mining applications on March 18, 2013,” according to the MGB in a statement uploaded on its Web site last Friday.

In 2011, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) halted the processing of new mining applications to review thousands of pending applications — some pending for as long as 15 years — and inactive mining projects. The MGB said speculators had filed applications for areas that had no proven deposits in order to lure investors.

DENR issued Memorandum Order No. 2011-01 dated Jan. 18, 2011 that stated “to ensure that the ongoing clearance of mining applications shall be successfully implemented… acceptance and processing of new mining applications by all Regional Offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau is hereby suspended.”

DENR suspended the processing of exploration permits (EP), financial or technical assistance agreements (FTAA) and mineral production sharing agreements.

Environment Secretary Ramon P. Paje lifted the moratorium, as recommended by MGB Director Leo L. Jasareno, via a memorandum dated March 7, 2013.

In a text message yesterday, Mr. Jasareno said: “To date, a total of 210 applications were filed, wherein 40 were accepted and 67 were returned for revision and resubmission. The rest were rejected.”

Last February, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) increased the filing and processing fees of applications for EPs, FTAAs and mineral agreements (MA).

Administrative Order No. 2013-10 dated Feb. 21 set the following fee schedule:

• for EPs: P300 per hectare but not less than P200,000 per application from P60 per hectare but not less than P50,000 per application

• for MAs, P300 per hectare but not less than P300,000 per application from P60 per hectare but not less than P50,000 per application

• for FTAAs, P300 per hectare but not less than P500,000 per application from P60 per hectare but not less than P100,000 per application.

In an earlier interview, Mr. Jasareno said the increase was made in order to weed out speculators.

Asked if they were successful in weeding out the speculators, Mr. Jasareno said “yes.” — Raymond Jun R. Portillo