The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) aims to complete the evaluation of all pending applications for mining exploration permits before end of June this year.
In Memorandum Circular 2-16, MGB Director Leo Jasareno directed the Mining Tenements Management Division, with the assistance of the Regional Office concerned, to implement the Zero Backlog Project, which will result in either the approval or denial of EP applications.
At present, there are 264 pending EP applications undergoing evaluation at the MGB.
Since the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 79, the MGB suspended the acceptance of all types of mining applications until the no-go zones map is set in place. The map will guide potential investors to identify areas that are not accessible to mining.
No-go areas, which include island ecosystems and tourism destinations, are a crucial aspect of the Aquino administration’s mining policy to address environmental and social issues that hound the industry.
The said order was lifted in February 2013 with the implementation of Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Administrative Order 11, which prescribed the procedural guidelines in the filing and processing of EP applications pursuant to EO 79.
The lifting of the ban paves the way for the acceptance of new applications for EPs and financial or technical assistance agreement.
In accordance to the lifting of the moratorium, the government has increased filing and processing fee for applications for exploration permit (EP), mineral agreement (MA), and Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) – including the renewal of EPs and exploration period of MAs and FTAAs.
Under the new processing guidelines, the MGB has increase the payment for EP and MA applications to P300 per hectare (but not less than P200,000 per application) from P60/ha (P50,000 per application); while permit application for FTAA was increase to P300/ha (but not less than P500,000 per application) from P60/ha (P100,000 per application).
MGB has also increase the minimum authorized and paid-up capital requirements applicants pursuant to Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
The minimum authorized capital requirements for applicants for EPs, MAs, and FTAAs are now placed at P100 million from P10 million; while the minimum paid-up capital is placed at P6.25 million from P2.50 million.
In the case of an applicant for FTAA, it shall be required to have a minimum paid up capital of P500 million upon the grant of the FTAA by the President of the Republic of the Philippines.
The higher fees are intended to weed out speculators and non-moving mining projects in the country.