Mining policies to affect mineral production sharing-A A +A
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
EXECUTIVE Order No. 79 would have an impact on holders of mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) and small-scale miners in the region.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) regional director Edilberto Arreza said Tuesday that changes will happen, especially in the processing of pending and new applications as provided by the EO.
He said they will also no longer process small-scale mining permits under Presidential Decree 1899. Arreza said the basis of the permits will now be solely based on Republic Act 7076 or the People's Small-Scale Mining Law.
Presidential Decree No. 1899 (PD No. 1899 or Establishing small-scale mining as a new dimension in mineral development) was issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1984 while RA 7076 was made into law in 1991 under then President Corazon Aquino.
PD No. 1899 had allowed local government units to issue mining permits anywhere, which made it difficult to contain and treat effluents.
A provision of EO 79 limits small-scale mining to "Minahang Bayan" or people's small-scale mining areas. This provision effectively reins in local government units, which are known to grant mining permits in their jurisdictions.
Arreza said the governors can still issue permits to miners but it must be within the provisions provided by RA 7076.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the EO would straighten out the guidelines on small- scale mining by declaring that only Republic Act No. 7076 or the People's Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 would be recognized.
"We also have a very comprehensive provision pertaining to small-scale mining. With the opinion given to us by the Department of Justice, we will only be using one law and that is RA 7076 which states that all small-scale mining can only happen or occur inside what you call 'Minahang Bayan'. We have to contain them in one place so that we can contain the wastes and we can treat them properly," he said.
"With this provision of "Minahang Bayan", we will contain them in one place; we can put one tailings' pond; and we can treat the wastes efficiently," Paje added.
The EO also bans the use of mercury in small-scale mining, and provides for the state ownership of mine tailings and wastes upon expiration of contract.
On top of the protected areas cited in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the National Integrated Protected Area Mining Act of 1995 and the National Integrated Protected Area System, EO 79 also bans mining in
tourism development areas identified by the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP); prime agricultural lands such as plantations and other properties devoted to valuable crops; fisheries development zones and marine sanctuaries as declared by the agriculture secretary; and island ecosystems to be determined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through mapping technology.
In the Davao Region, those identified as no-mining zones are Davao Gulf and Coast, Davao City-Samal Island, Davao del Sur, and Compostela Valley-Davao Oriental.
Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy meanwhile said that they will seek clarification on the inclusion of their province in the no-mining zone.
"I have yet to see the details, if lahat ba ng lugar sa Compostela Valley ay no mining zone," Uy said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 11, 2012.