The Aquino administration allegedly violated its own moratorium on new mining deals when it
allowed the areas covered by Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) to increase by about 6 percent at the tail end of its term.
Some of the MPSAs that got area expansion were among those subsequently canceled by Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez in February for being within or near watersheds.
Most of the MPSA area expansions were approved in the first six months of 2016, or before the election and subsequent takeover of the Duterte administration.
A study conducted by the BusinessMirror revealed that 16 companies engaged in ore extraction, cement production and quarrying were able to expand their mining areas through amendments of their existing MPSAs.
With this, mining areas grew by a total of 35,067.35 hectares, the bulk of the expansion happening in May and June 2016.