The government plans to privatize Basay Mining Corp., formerly CDCP Mining Corp. based in Negros Oriental province, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Monday in an online briefing.
“Regarding the Basay Mines project, I don’t know yet how much the exact valuation is and how we will bid it out. But that is the first mine we are doing,” Dominguez said.
Basay Mining was established in 1970 but its operations were suspended in 1983 because of lack of working and operating funds.
Basay Mining had entered into a deed of assignment of mining claims and leasehold rights with the Philippine National Bank to secure credit and loan accommodations from the bank.
Technical studies by the Privatization and Management Office, an attached agency of the Department of Finance, indicate the Basay mine contains at least 105 million tons of copper ore, and could generate at least P1 billion if privatized.
Dominguez earlier said the DoF was pursuing steps to untangle the legal issues tying down idle mining interests held by the government in an effort to speed up the privatization of the assets and revive their operations.
The PMO said lawsuits filed by the private sector proponents in the operations of these once-flourishing mining assets had hampered efforts by the government to privatize them.
A memorandum by the PMO to Dominguez earlier identified the copper-gold project of Maricalum Mining Corp. (Maricalum Mining) in Negros Occidental, the nickel mines of the Nonoc Mining and
Industrial Corp. (Nonoc Mining) in Surigao del Norte and the gold- and copper-rich North Davao Mining Property (North Davao Mining) in Davao del Norte as among the idle mining assets held by the government that have long been under litigation.
The PMO also said the copper mines of Basay Mining in Negros Oriental and the nickel mine once operated by Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corp. (MMIC Bagacay Mine) in Western Samar have remained inoperational because of legal concerns on how these assets should be disposed.
“… When it comes to disposition of mines, it is more complicated than just selling a piece of land or an ordinary asset because number one, there are lots of claims and counterclaims and challenges to claims. Number two, there are security and physical security issues,” Dominguez said. He said the another issue was the valuation of the asset.
“We are continuing to privatize whatever assets that we have. But quite frankly, we don’t have any more crown jewels… that has been privatized by previous administrations already. And the ones we are left with are really the difficult ones to privatize,” Dominguez said.