Gov’t sets aside P50M for mining review

Gov’t sets aside P50M for mining review

The government is shelling out P50 million for the review of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) order to close or suspend 28 mines.

Department of Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) sourced the budget from the government’s contingency fund.

The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) will do a comprehensive review of all mining contracts, focusing on the 23 ordered to be closed down and the five set for suspension by DENR.

Last month, MICC said they will create a multi-stakeholder review to advise the DENR on the performance of the country’s mining companies. They will form five technical groups for the review, namely the economic, environmental, legal, social and technical.

Dominguez, who co-chairs MICC with DENR secretary Gina Lopez, said they will seek a permanent annual budget for these reviews under their general appropriations act.

“It was only proper that the MICC be given a permanent allocation under the national budget given its task under Executive Order No. 79 of reviewing all 311 mining contracts in the country once every two years,” he said.

The review teams will have a geologist, mining engineer or metallurgical engineer; a lawyer; a community relations officer; an environmental management officer, and economic representatives from the local government of the host communities.

Also involved in the review are government agencies Department of Finance, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the National Economic Development Authority.

“The DENR will provide and make available the copies of the documents in the DENR data room for easy reference/access during the conduct of the review. Ocular inspections may also be conducted, if deemed necessary, by the technical review teams and if funds permit,” read MICC’s approved guidelines.

“The MICC will present the findings and submit its recommendations to the Office of the President, which shall make a final decision on the DENR’s closure and suspension orders,” it said.