Gov't lifts moratorium on new mining agreements

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — The government can now enter into new mineral mining agreements as long as the deals comply with local laws, according to a directive signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday.

"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," the newy-signed Executive Order No 130 stated. It amends section 4 of Executive Order No 79 of 2012.

It said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall create terms and conditions that will maximize government revenues and share from production.

"The DENR and the Department of Finance shall undertake appropriate measures to rationalize existing revenue sharing schemes and mechanisms," it added.

The DENR is also tasked with the creation and the strict implementation of mine safety and environmental policies.

In a statement on Thursday, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said the lifting of the moratorium would be beneficial given the abundance of minerals in the country, adding it could pave the way for long-term economic recovery.

"It can only mean well for our economic recovery, especially if we can set up the ground rules and the tax regime for mining well," said Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

He has proposed several policies to maximize the benefits of the mining industry, among them securing energy supply and investing in research and development.

EO 130 said that, to date, less than 5% of the country's mineral resources have been tapped, and the mining industry can support government projects such as the Build, Build, Build Program and increasing employment opportunities in areas where there are mining activities.