100 new mining projects to raise P21 billion for gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — With the lifting of the moratorium on new mining agreements, 100 mining projects, which are now in the pipeline, are expected to generate P21 billion in revenues for the national government, according to Jonas Leones, undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Leones said 35 mining projects were expected to push through in phase one and the next 65 would be rolled out in the succeeding phase.
“We are now in the process of evaluating the pipeline projects,” Leones said in an online briefing.
One of the big-ticket projects lined up is Silangan Mining in Surigao province, which has a funding requirement of $700 billion, he said.
For government coffers
The new mining projects would generate P21 billion in income for government coffers, although he said the economic benefits would not be immediately felt and might take one to five years.
Leones also brushed off calls by environmental groups to keep the moratorium on new mining projects, saying the government needed the income from these activities to address the pandemic.
‘We need a source of funds’
“As of now, we will not pay attention to these because the country has a lot of problems and we need a source of funds,” he said.
“This is one of the ways for us to resolve our financial problems,” Leones added.
He gave assurance to the public that the DENR would also focus on the mining operations’ compliance with environmental laws.
“I just want to emphasize to our countrymen that this is not just about extraction, we will also look at environmental compliance so we can ensure balance between the economic aspect and the environmental aspect,” he said.
President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 130 last week, which lifted the nine-year moratorium on new mining agreements in a bid to revive the pandemic-battered economy.
The EO tasks the DENR with coming up with terms and conditions in the new mineral agreements that would “maximize government revenues and share from production, including the possibility of declaring these areas as mineral reservations to obtain appropriate royalties.” INQ
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