[PHOTO -The DENR logo]

MANILA, OCTOBER 1, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Jeannette I. Andrade – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has suspended the implementation of its guidelines on the government’s new mining policy to give way to amendments on its “ambiguous” provision on the renewal of expiring mining contracts.

In a memorandum issued Friday by DENR undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio Jr. to all concerned offices and the Mining and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), he said that DENR administrative order 2012-07 or the implementing rules and regulations of Executive Order 79 is suspended pending the issuance and effectivity of amendments.

The IRR for EO 79, which embodies President Aquino’s policy on mining, was supposed to take effect Saturday (Sept. 29, 2012), or 15 days after it was published.

Ignacio told the Inquirer that the decision to suspend the implementation of the IRR was reached after a meeting last Monday in Malacañang convened by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), headed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

“It was decided to make the IRR less ambiguous,” the undersecretary said, adding that the meeting had been called over concerns raised by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) on section 9 of the guidelines which it has described as “patently illegal.” 


The COMP claimed that the government review of mining contracts would shorten the maximum 50-year period for projects by imposing a bidding scheme for the renewal after the first 25 years of a tenement.

The group further said that the provision contradicts the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 which provides: “Mineral agreements shall have a term not exceeding 25 years to start from the date of execution thereof, and renewable for another term not exceeding 25 years under the same terms and conditions thereof, without prejudice to charges mutually agreed upon by the parties.”

Section 9 of the IRR states that “in the case of expiring 25-year mining tenements, the qualified mining tenement holder electing to exercise its rights to renew the said mining tenement for another 25-year term shall file the pertinent mining application in the MGB not later than six months prior to the expiration of the same mining tenement.”

It further provides that “the mining contract/agreement that may be renewed shall be subject to new terms and conditions pursuant to the laws, rules and regulations that are existing at the time of the renewal or may be hereafter issued, such as, but not limited to, the establishment of the contract area as a mineral reservation.”

Ignacio told the Inquirer that during the meeting, the members of the MICC agreed to amend the provision to make it clearer and suspend the implementation of the IRR until the amendment is published.

“We are not going to do anything else,” the undersecretary assured, referring to changes in other portions of the IRR.

EO 79 has been touted as the centerpiece of the government’s mining reforms program while the IRR was described to be leaning more toward environmental preservation than earning revenues for the government from mining.


Mining group to challenge in court a provision in new mining rules By Riza T. Olchondra Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:17 pm | Wednesday

[PHOTO -Chamber of Mines of the Philippines president Benjamin Philip Romualdez]

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Mining companies will challenge the government in court over what they claim as a “patently illegal” provision in the implementing rules of Executive Order 79 on mining policy reforms, according to the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.

Chamber president Benjamin Philip Romualdez told reporters on the sidelines of the Mining Philippines 2012 Conference that mining companies were “preparing legal action against government” over Section 9 of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of EO 79.

The IRR provision says the government can renegotiate the terms of mining contracts after the first 25 years. This effectively shortens the potential project period from the existing maximum period of 50 years.

Mining companies “will sue,” Romualdez said. Since the government took “a lot of time” in putting together the IRR, industry players have carefully reviewed the provisions and their position is to sue, he added.

Romualdez expressed hope that Vice-President Jejomar Binay (photo at right), the keynote speaker at the conference, would relay to the agencies and officials concerned the industry’s “shock” over the implementing rules.



THE PHILIPPINE MINING INDUSTRY by Ramon I. Castillo Benguet Mines, Philippines

[PHOTO- Checking for the suitability of the ceiling after an explosion.]

The Overview

…profit dictates the operations, to a philosophy that incorporates social and environmental considerations as equal to profit.

The Mining Industry has been under siege for its social and environmental issues. For years, the industry has been attacked with countless accounts of environmental disasters, socio-cultural displacements, and mining firms’ encroachment into traditional lands. When the industry started to create a more environment and people-friendly advancements, these negative attacks were dodge off, and the industry bounced back and boomed.

The industry’s advancements created a new image of what the industry could bring to the people. With the world’s drive towards globalization and industrialization, the industry of mining became more efficient in sustaining ones nations’ economic growth.

Since 1985, over 75 countries started to introduce or in the process of introducing new mining laws and policies, to improve the environment for private investment. Even though Philippines has been one of the countries suppressed by the destruction caught by the Mining Industry, the government has always been willing to embrace the new transitional mining firms to exploit the mineral resources.

No matter how the government would describe it, they can’t deny that they more desirably go for international firms that local corporation to exploit the Philippine resources. This shows that now the profit dictates the operations, to a philosophy that incorporates social and environmental considerations as equal to profit.

Understanding Mining and the Mining Industry

Mining is simply the extraction of minerals from the earth. It is a distinct industry because of the nature of its product, which dictates the nature of operation and process that have to be undertaken. To note are the following:

•Ore grade- is the percentage of desirable material out of the total matrix. The global average for copper ore, for example, is around 0.9% (while Stocks lasts). This means that for every ton of excavation, less than a kilogram of metal is produced. For gold, the figures are more appalling. On the average, around 6 tonnes of rock need to be processed to produce an ounce of gold. Ore grade are getting lower and lower since the high grade ores are naturally the first to be mined.

•Compounds- Minerals, especially metals, are not usually found in elementary form. While some metals may be extracted through "gravitational methods", those that are in the form of compounds such as sulphides or oxides need to be extracted using chemical separation methods. The mineral input needed for extraction of these metals usually contribute substantially to total wastage.

Reference: -All That Glitters: Understanding the Myth of Sustainable Mining in the Philippines, Issue Paper 97-01, by Andre Gerard Garcia Ballesteros, LRC-KSK / Friends of the Earth Philippines. - /thumbnails/Castillo_751_mining5.jpg



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