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Next review of active mines set to start in March

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:03 AM January 22, 2019

The plan to audit the remaining 15 to 17 active mining operations in the country will start in March, with the interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) expected to hire the same technical team that undertook the first review.

Finance Undersecretary Bayani H. Agabin told reporters Monday that the departments of Finance (DOF) and Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which co-chair the MICC, had allotted P25 million from their respective budgets to fund the next round of review of mining operations.

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“We are targeting to start by March because it’s dry season and some of these mines you cannot visit during the rainy season,” Agabin said.

The DOF official said this second round of audit was expected to be finished by June.

The upcoming round will complete the audit of all active mining firms as only about 40 remain operating to date, Agabin said.

The MICC last year audited 26 mining companies, which former environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez had ordered shut down or suspended due to “adverse findings,” Agabin noted.

This first round of review was delayed by over a year due to lack of funding.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III had nonetheless said that the technical review team they hired to audit mining operations was “highly commendable.”

The MICC, formed through EO No. 79 issued by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2012, was mandated to conduct a multi-stakeholder review of mining operations every two years, but only now had it been able to do so.

Agabin said the result of the MICC’s first review was already submitted to the Office of the President, while the DENR was conducting its own separate audit.

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