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DENR signs mining guidelines for EO 79

Published on 10 October 2012 [ ]

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has officially signed the final version of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Aquino administration’s mining policy.

The Palace last week approved the revised mining guidelines.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje on Monday signed the approved version of DENR Administrative Order 07-A, or the IRR of the Executive Order (EO) 79, which contains the revisions to Sections 3, 7 and 9.

“The IRR, which includes the amendments, will be published in newspapers within the next few days and will take effect 15 days after the publication,” Leo Jasareno, director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau, said in a text message.

It will be recalled that the Mining Industry Coordinating Council was forced to review the initial version IRR, which was issued on September 10, after the minerals industry declared that a number of provisions were “patently illegal.”

The latest revision of Section 3 states expired mining tenements as contracts whose 25 or 50-year term have lapsed. The definition noted that an agreement/contract may be considered expired after the initial 25-year term, if the parties concerned fail to agree on the terms of renewal.

Meanwhile, Section 7, which declares that no new mineral agreements will be granted until a new law rationalizing revenue-sharing schemes has been approved, was revised to likewise include the issuance of permits for expansion of existing contract areas “unless there is an imminent and/or threatened economic disruption, such as a shortage of critical commodities and raw materials, that could adversely affect priority government projects and/or economic activities . . .”

Also, the controversial Section 9 was also revised to define that “mining contracts/agreements that may be renewed shall be subject to existing laws, rules and regulations at the time of renewal.”

In the previous version of the IRR, Section 9, which tackles the opening of areas for mining through competitive bidding, states that expiring 25-year mining tenements may be renewed by the qualified tenement holder but will be subject to new terms and conditions pursuant to the laws that are existing at the time of the renewal.

It also states that expiring mining contracts may even be declared as a Mineral Reservation.

The provisions were contested by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, which the lobby group stressed were a direct violation of Section 32 of the Mining Act of 1995.

Section 32 of Republic Act No. 7942 states that mineral agreements shall have a term not exceeding 25 years to start from the date of execution thereof, and renewable for another term not exceeding 25 years under the same terms and conditions thereof, without prejudice to charges mutually agreed upon by the parties.

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