KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya: Australia-based miner OceanaGold Corp. said it has been issued a mayor’s permit by the municipality of Kasibu, dated August 7, 2017, after the company paid the amount of P226,450 as permit fee and P92 million in business tax following the expiration of its five-year tax holiday last April.
OceanaGold Country Director Brad Norman said their latest payment in business taxes and fees to this host municipality proves that mining contributes a sizeable amount to the town’s coffers.
Norman said that with this payment, Kasibu Mayor Alberto Bumolo issued its Mayor’s Permit to the company so that it can continue its operations in the locality.
This third-class mineral-rich upland town is where OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI) operates its Didipio Gold and Copper Project (DGCP), with a Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with the government.
Local officials here said that while the mining industry’s contribution to the Philippine economy has been underestimated, “we cannot deny that the Didipio mine operation has contributed in the development of our community through their payment of taxes and fees, among others.”
The Didipio mine, which started its commercial operation in 2013, has an approximate reserve of 1.59 million ounces of gold and 0.21 metric tons of copper over a mine life of 27 years. In April, the company reportedly completed its five-year tax holiday.
Norman said the company has so far contributed over P3.2 billion in taxes and social investment expenditure since it started commercial operations in April 2013.
This contribution came in the form of P806.65 million withholding taxes paid to the government, P777.03 million payroll taxes, P737.45 million excise taxes, P637.99 million in community development and P267.47 million in local taxes and fees.
Norman said their license to operate carries a responsibility to contribute to the development of the Philippines and to ensure that “we leave a positive economic and social legacy” and that “the core business of their operation in the country creates jobs, provides infrastructures and purchases goods and services from local providers.”
OGPI General Manager David Way said the company as a good corporate citizen has been explicit in stating its intentions to fulfill its moral, legal and ethical obligations.
“The tax payments are tangible results of the cumulative efforts of the dedicated men and women who work in the Didipio mine,” Way said.
The Didipio village is located some 270 kilometers north of Manila at the boundaries of Cabarroguis and Nagtipunan towns in Quirino and Kasibu Town in Nueva Vizcaya, both provinces claiming the company’s real property taxes.
This has resulted in an interpleader case filed by OGPI before the Regional Trial Court in Makati City to determine which province has jurisdiction over Didipio Village. The case resulted in the withholding of the real property taxes (RPT) covering 2013-3014.
For the 2015 and 2016 periods, OGPI initially settled its RPT with the province of Nueva Vizcaya amounting to P101 million pending the court’s decision in the interpleader case.