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Palace wants broad support for new mining policy

Secretary Ricky Carandang

Malacañang is taking a long time to come up with the framework for the country’s mining policy because it wants as many of the industry’s stakeholders as possible to get on board, according to Ricky Carandang, the head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office.

The policy statement—seen as a guide for executive issuances and proposed legislation for the multi-billion-peso industry—is expected “soon,” Carandang said.

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Mining has been a very divisive issue over the past decades that “if we need to take a little bit more time to bring more people on board then I think that’s time well spent rather than us, on our own, coming up with the mining policy without consulting people,” he said.

“Given that it’s a very volatile and divisive issue, we’d rather have more stakeholders on board even if it takes a little bit more time,” Carandang said.

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“One of the things that we want to do also is to make sure that this discussion, this policy has the approval of at least most of the stakeholders,” he told a press briefing Wednesday.

The Chamber of Mines has claimed that the industry lost P10.4 billion in foreign direct investments last year because of  the suspension of the issuance of permits and the absence of a new mining policy.

“We understand the concerns and this is exactly why we are trying to come up with a well-defined mining policy from which will flow specific actions,” Carandang said.

He said it was too early to say whether new legislation would be needed as a result of the new mining policy.

Last March, Carandang said administration officials had agreed on the need to review existing laws and policies to allow the government to obtain a bigger revenue share from mining operations in the country.

“There’s a consensus to revisit how much government gets by allowing mining in the country,” he said.

He said this was among the agreements that were developed during a meeting of environment officials and members of the Cabinet economic cluster.

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Carandang said the government is looking at the experience of other countries like Canada, Australia and South Africa in generating revenues from mining.

He described the meeting of the environment protection executives with the members of the economic cluster as a comprehensive discussion on mining’s implications on the environment, the economy and indigenous peoples.

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