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MGB updating list of gov’t mining assets ahead of disposal

THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said it will be updating the mineral resources and mineral reserves database on state-owned mining assets in preparation for their sale.    

MGB Director Wilfredo G. Moncano said some of the information required for a possible sale is the volume of mineral resources and reserves, and the technical basis for the estimates.

“A mineral resource refers to the concentration of materials of economic interest found in the Earth’s crust, while a mineral reserve is the economically mineable portion of a mineral resource,” Mr. Moncano said in a statement Thursday.   

Mr. Moncano identified Basay Mining Corp. in Negros Oriental which ceased operations in 1983, and the Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corp. in Samar which was foreclosed by the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine National Bank in 1984 as some of the idle government mining assets to undergo the review.

“Data are necessary to be collated and evaluated to see if the reports of former geologists and mining engineers are compliant with the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code that was put in place sometime in 2010,” Mr. Moncano said.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the updating of the list of state-owned mining assets for sale will support government revenue.

“This is in preparation for the bidding and sale of mining assets to gain revenue and help the country recover from the economic devastation of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” Mr. Cimatu said.   

“The MGB will allot some funds from its budget for the updating of data.  The updating of the mining information will most likely advance first on those assets without pending legal cases like the Basay Mining Corp. and Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corp.,” Mr. Moncano said.

Mr. Moncano said some assets under the Privatization and Management Office (PMO) of the Finance Department have sufficient data and can be put up for auction soon.

“Once investors bid on these mining assets, operations will resume.  However, documentary requirements to allow for the development and commercial operations to resume will have to be submitted by the winning bidder to MGB,” Mr. Moncano said.

According to MGB, the PMO and the Philippine Mining Development Corp. are responsible for the sale of the government-owned mining assets via auction.

PMO mining assets include Pacific Nickel Philippines, Inc. in Surigao del Norte; North Davao Mining Property in Davao del Norte; Maricalum Mining Corp. in Negros Occidental; and Marcopper Mining Corp. in Marinduque.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order No. 130 on April 14 which removed the nine-year ban on new mineral agreements and allowed the review of current mining deals for potential renegotiation.  

The MGB has said that P21 billion in revenue can be generated by the 100 mining projects in the pipeline, which can be used to help support the economic recovery. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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