The removal of the ban enables the government to make agreements for new mining projects

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Philippines government removes nine-year ban on new mines as it seeks to boost revenues for the country. (Credit: S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay)

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has removed a nine-year moratorium on new mineral agreements in the country in a bid to drive significant economic benefits.

The President has signed an executive order that enables the government to make agreements for new mining projects. It also allows for carrying out reviews of existing mining contracts and agreements for potential renegotiation of the terms, reported Reuters.

The ban on new mines was imposed in 2012. It was put into force while the Filipino government worked on laws to enhance the country’s share of mining revenues.

A tax reform law that was implemented in 2018 resulted in the doubling of the excise tax levied on minerals, quarry resources, and mineral products to 4%.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines was quoted by the news agency as saying: “(The executive order) will help bring the Philippines back on the investment map.”

In 2020, the Southeast Asian nation emerged as the biggest supplier of nickel ore to China, following a ban on exports of unprocessed ore in Indonesia.

The Presidential order asks the country’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources to establish the terms and conditions in the new mineral agreements so that government revenues and share from production are maximised.

Apart from that, the environment and natural resources department will also be responsible for the strict enforcement of the rules on mine safety and environmental policies, as per the Presidential order.

Earlier this year, the Philippines ordered the suspension of mining activities on Tumbagan Island in Languyan, located in the Tawi-Tawi province, which hosts nickel projects.

According to the government, the decision was to enable the rehabilitation of the land by planting more trees and other activities as the island had been mined out.