Gov’t starts sale of idle mining assets | Inquirer Business

Gov’t starts sale of idle mining assets

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:05 AM August 31, 2021

Carlos G. Dominguez III

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III INQUIRER File Photo

The government plans to sell Basay Mining Corp.’s copper mines once legal impediments to privatize these idle assets are cleared, in a bid to shore up funds to battle the prolonged COVID-19 crisis, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.

“I don’t know yet how much the exact valuation is and how we will bid it out, but that is the first mine we are doing,” Dominguez told reporters.


But Dominguez said disposing of mines could be “more complicated” compared to other asset sales involving pieces of property.


Dominguez pointed to claims, counterclaims and challenges to claims to properties covered by these mining sites, which also resulted in security issues.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) had also disclosed plans to sell the assets of North Davao Mining Corp.’s mine in Davao del Norte and Pacific Nickel Philippines Inc.’s in Surigao del Norte.

Interagency initiative

Last year, Dominguez ordered the Department of Finance-attached Privatization and Management Office (PMO) to spearhead an interagency initiative to clear legal impediments—pending for several decades now—and quickly dispose of idle mining assets.

Dominguez had said the government wanted to privatize its mining assets to not only generate more revenues but also revive the sector and generate jobs supportive of post-pandemic economic recovery.

“We are continuing to privatize whatever assets that we have. But quite frankly, we don’t have any more crown jewels—those have been privatized by previous administrations already. The ones we are left with are really the difficult ones to privatize,” Dominguez said.

The Finance chief cited over 30,000 land titles, which the PMO and the state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. currently evaluated to be privatized. “These are really difficult assets. These are not chunky assets anymore, like before you had big assets like banks,” he said.


Commercial functions

Dominguez also confirmed ongoing discussions with the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. as well as Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to privatize their commercial functions but “we haven’t come to any conclusion.”

While the Duterte administration will no longer slap new or higher taxes due to the harder times wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government will turn to privatization to raise more revenues, which would finance the wider budget deficit and repay ballooning debt.

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The Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee expects P491 million in privatization proceeds during the fourth quarter to hit the P500-million target for 2021. INQ

TAGS: Business, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III

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