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Gov’t eyes new mining laws, road map

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Gov’t eyes new mining laws, road map

Far from being unfair to law-abiding miners, the government is pushing the industry forward through major reforms such as crafting a road map for strategic metallic minerals and pushing for the passage of a new fiscal regime and revenue sharing arrangement, according to an official of the National Economic and Development Authority.

Mercedita A. Sombilla, director of Neda’s agriculture, natural resources and environment staff, Thursday said the government was also promoting responsible mining by completing an ongoing audit of all operating mines.

Sombilla was a keynote speaker at the Mining Philippines 2016 conference organized by the Chamber of Mines (COMP).

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She said the government was also pushing for the passage of new laws that define a new fiscal regime and revenue sharing arrangement in mining.

Citing data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Sombilla said that in the past 10 years, taxes, fees and royalties from mining hit a low of P6.4 billion in 2006 and a high of P32.8 billion in 2014.

The figure went down to P25.8 billion in 2015 and hit only P931.9 million as of the first half of 2016.

Over the same period, the industry’s output represented only 1 percent of the domestic economy at best. In 2006, mining accounted for 0.7 percent of gross domestic product and, as of the first half of 2016, the figure was the same.

Citing data from the Board of Investments and the Department of Finance, Sombilla said the government’s tax take as a percentage of gross revenue from mining was only 12.7 percent.

This was the lowest when compared to 17.2 percent in Australia, 17.6 percent in Papua New Guinea, 20.3 percent in Indonesia, 20.4 percent in Canada, 21.5 percent in South Africa, 22.1 percent in Peru, and 23.1 percent in Chile.

Sombilla said the proposed new fiscal regime and revenue sharing arrangement—for large-scale metallic mining alone—was for a government share of 10 percent of gross revenue or 55 percent of the “adjusted net mining revenue,” whichever was higher.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros backed by environment and human rights advocates filed what was called the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

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