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Gov’t reopens doors to mining

By: Riza T. Olchondra, March 15th, 2013 03:12 AM

The government is reopening its doors to mining applications, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

“The lifting of the moratorium means that the country is now ready to implement responsible mining, given the trailblazing provisions of EO (Executive Order) No. 79. We should also expect significant mining investments to start pouring in as we see mineral exploration moving on again,” MGB director Leo L. Jasareno said via text message.

Earlier on Thursday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-MGB, released a memorandum order signed by Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje.

The document announced the lifting of a more than two-year mining application moratorium.

Applications for exploration permits and the like may be processed again.

However, applications for mineral production sharing agreements will still be on hold pending a mining revenue scheme and other constraints related to EO 79, which was issued last year to spell out vital mining policy reforms.

The DENR suspended the acceptance of all types of mining applications in January 2011.

Changing mining policies, as well as the lack of consistency in national and local laws and changing regulatory climate (such as the open pit mining ban that has delayed the Tampakan copper-gold project in Mindanao) are among the concerns of foreign investors in the mining industry of the Philippines where there is an estimated $850 billion in reserves.

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