Vizcaya doubles taxes on mining operations

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12:34 AM December 28th, 2012

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December 28th, 2012 12:34 AM

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—In a move seen to discourage the entry of more foreign mining companies, the provincial government has enacted an ordinance that will increase taxes on mineral lands starting next year.

Gov. Luisa Lloren-Cuaresma has signed into law Tax Ordinance 2012-003, which increases by 100 percent real property taxes that will be collected from mineral-rich areas, including those covered by two existing large-scale mining projects in the province.

The governor said the ordinance should not be interpreted as a policy indicating that Nueva Vizcaya has softened its stance against mining.

“This is a measure that will ensure that we, the people of Nueva Vizcaya, will get the benefits that are due us from the operations of the mining projects [that are] already existing,” she said.

“In fact, this is meant to scare off other companies, especially the foreign ones, which may express interest in extracting our mining resources in the future,” she said.

The new ordinance will have an effect on the real property tax obligations of OceanaGold Philippines Inc. and FCF Minerals Inc., two Australian mining companies that were granted licenses to conduct mining operations in the province, said Rhoda Moreno, acting provincial treasurer.

OceanaGold is developing a gold-copper mining project in upland Didipio village in Kasibu town while FCF has invested in a gold-molybdenum project in Runruno village in nearby Quezon town.

“The passage of this ordinance was borne out of the impending operation of these two large-scale mining companies. We realized that there are yet provisions under our current tax code that covers mineral areas,” Moreno said.

Records show that a number of lands encompassed by the OceanaGold mine site in Didipio are agricultural lands that are valued at P35,000 a hectare.

Only 128 parcels of land in these mineral-rich areas have been declared qualified for real property examination and taxation that generated P1.2 million in revenues this year, the treasurer’s office said.

The ordinance sets four classifications for ore-rich areas.

Areas classified as mineral production sites will be taxed according to the volume of minerals extracted by the companies, Moreno said. Melvin Gascon, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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