The interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council will conduct next year the second round of “objective, science-based, and fact-finding” review of mining operations in the country.
MICC said in a statement Tuesday the review would cover the remaining 15 mining companies which were part of the 41 mines initially reviewed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources under former secretary Regina Lopez in 2016.
MICC plans to commission the same team of experts following their outputs on the review of the environmental, economic, social, legal and technical aspects of the first batch of 26 mining companies that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III described as “highly commendable.”
The 33rd meeting of the MICC on Dec. 12 was co-chaired by Dominguez and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu.
The MICC deferred a recommendation on the lifting of the moratorium on the issuance of new mineral agreements.
Executive Order No. 79 imposed a moratorium on new mineral agreements “until a legislation rationalizing existing revenue sharing schemes and mechanisms shall have taken effect”.
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law or Republic Act No. 10963 increased the excise tax on mineral products from 2 percent to 4 percent.
The Environment Department asked whether the increase would be considered as having satisfied the condition of a legislation rationalizing the existing revenue sharing scheme.
The Finance Department clarified that the Train law only increased the excise taxes and did not cover the implementation of a new fiscal regime for mining. The new fiscal regime proposed by the DOF covers other taxes and fees, such as royalty, windfall, profit and incentives.
The MICC then resolved to defer a recommendation to lift the moratorium on new mineral agreements, stressing that a new revenue-sharing scheme and mechanisms for mining would be covered under Package 2 plus of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program.
The House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 8400 on third and final reading. The bill was transmitted to the Senate on Nov. 13, 2018.
The DENR was tasked to study the process of delineating the “go and no-go zones” for mining application identified under EO 79.
The MICC also instructed DENR to check the provisions in the implementing rules and regulations and see whether the issues concerning the go-no go zones could be resolved by revising the IRR.