Sept. 1, 2017: Ex-Palawan guv Joel Reyes convicted of graft over mining permit

Sept. 1, 2017: Ex-Palawan guv Joel Reyes convicted of graft over mining permit

MANILA, Philippines — Former Palawan governor Joel Reyes was sentenced to an imprisonment of six to eight years after he was found guilty of graft by the Sandiganbayan over the renewal of the permit of a small-scale mining company found to have been over extracting mineral ore.

In a 34-page resolution dated August 29, released to the media Wednesday, the anti-graft court’s Third Division said the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Reyes gave unwarranted benefit and advantage to Olympic Mines and Development Corporation (OMDC) when he renewed the small scale mining permit (SSMP) of the company on April 6, 2006 despite a previous permit which was still valid and subsisting at that time.

Sept. 1, 2017: Moving mining forward: Proposed actionable solutions

Sept. 1, 2017: Moving mining forward: Proposed actionable solutions
 

After the rejection of Gina Lopez as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary, the mining industry must have thought that the worst was over, especially when the current DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu took a more sober stance.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address, however, rocked the industry once again and perhaps signaled that the miners’ woes are far from done. In that SONA, the administration’s environment agenda appeared to focus on mining, as Duterte minced no words in hurling criticisms against certain mining operations perceived to be destroying the environment and the livelihoods of farmers living in the nearby communities.

Sept. 1, 2017: MGB proposes lifting of ban on open-pit mining

Sept. 1, 2017: MGB proposes lifting of ban on open-pit mining
 

MANILA, Philippines – The environment department’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is proposing to lift the ban on open-pit mining that was issued by former environment secretary Gina Lopez.

“The other administrative order that we’re also proposing for lifting is the [Department Administrative Order 2017-10], which is the ban on open-pit mining,” MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano told senators during the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) budget hearing on Tuesday, August 29.

Moncano was answering Senator Francis Escudero’s questions regarding the mining policies of the DENR.

He said they are consulting with the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) regarding the proposal to lift the ban on open-pit mining.

Aug. 29, 2017: Industrialization in peril sans mining progress — JFC

Aug. 29, 2017: Industrialization in peril sans mining progress — JFC
 

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte’s thrust towards the industrialization of the Philippines is taking a significant hit with the continuing lack of progress in the country’s mining sector, the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines said.

JFC members said the country’s mining sector remains stagnant and undeveloped, putting the country’s dream towards industrialization to a halt.

“Mining has been a sad tale of no progress over the six years of the previous administration and so far not too much progress under the present one,” Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Julian Payne said.

He said countries such as Australia, Canada, US and some in Europe have actually built their industrialized status through mining.

Aug. 29, 2017: Atlas Mining’s loss widens in H1 on unit’s weak output

Aug. 29, 2017: Atlas Mining’s loss widens in H1 on unit’s weak output
 

ATLAS Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. registered a wider consolidated net loss of P572.59 million during the first half of the year, sustaining its P325.14-million loss from last year.

The company blamed the loss to its wholly owned subsidiary, Carmen Copper Corp., which has been implementing a cash-optimal mining plan since the second quarter 2016.

Carmen Copper milled 6.47 million tons of ore and produced copper metal of 36.62 million pounds, a 33-percent decline from the first half of 2016. Production, however, improved in the second quarter by 9 percent, with 19.07 million pounds copper metal produced, compared to the first-quarter production of 17.55 million pounds.

Metal prices continued to improve throughout the period pushing the average realized copper price to $2.60 per pound, 23 percent higher than the $2.12 per pound realized in the first half of 2016.

Aug. 29, 2017: An ‘enforcer’ at the DENR

Aug. 29, 2017: An ‘enforcer’ at the DENR
 

The responsibility of implementing and enforcing President Duterte’s take on the environment rests with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). But the DENR has no permanent chief yet. The verdict on whether or not Environment Secretary Roy Agullana Cimatu will be given the chance to lead the department until 2022 will be decided by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Secretary Cimatu is keeping a low profile. I know he is a product of our public school system from elementary and high school, having been born and raised by a war veteran father and a public schoolteacher in Bangui, Ilocos Norte. A graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, Magiting Class of 1970, Secretary Cimatu topped the Infantry Officers Advanced Course in the Philippine Army Training Command course with the highest rating of 97.27 percent. He also trained at the United States Army Command and Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The newly appointed DENR chief is a veteran combat soldier in Mindanao. Soon after his graduation from PMA, Secretary Cimatu immediately saw action in Cotabato as a platoon leader and executive officer of the Alpha Company of the 11th Infantry Battalion.

Aug. 28, 2017: TO LIFT OR NOT?: MICC examines open pit mining ban

Aug. 28, 2017: TO LIFT OR NOT?: MICC examines open pit mining ban
 
The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has tasked a technical working group to study whether the ban on open pit mining should be lifted or not, Bayani Agabin, finance undersecretary, said.

The ban on open pit mining was imposed last April by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under its former secretary, Regina Lopez.

“Remember, President Duterte met with mining companies. He has a statement there that he is not against open pit mining. He just wants that any damage that you caused, you have to fix,” Agabin said.

“And so going by that statement, MICC tasked (a) technical working group to again study whether open pit mining should be allowed or not. Because right now, there’s a Department Order that imposes a ban,” he added.

Aug. 28, 2017: Alvarez rules out ‘lobby money’ in new mining bill

Aug. 28, 2017: Alvarez rules out ‘lobby money’ in new mining bill
 

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has dismissed insinuations that his proposal requiring mining companies to obtain a congressional franchise was motivated by the prospect of lobby money.

“That’s purely hypothetical. That’s just a figment of their imagination,” Alvarez said in an interview before he filed House Bill No. 6259.

But Alvarez admitted he could not guarantee there would be no bribery in the process of acquiring a congressional franchise.

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Aug. 27, 2017: Extra P4b eyed for mining areas

Aug. 27, 2017: Extra P4b eyed for mining areas
AN EXTRA P4 billion has been set aside to pay for the 40-percent share of local government units in the annual income derived by the National Treasury from the harvest of mineral deposits and energy reserves in their areas, a lawmaker said on Saturday.
“The new money is provided for in the P3.767-trillion budget for 2018, and will be handed out mainly to the LGUs of provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays that abound in metallic and coal mining activities that generate earnings for the national government,”  said Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., a deputy minority leader.

“The fresh funding is on top of the regular internal revenue allotments due the beneficiary LGUs,” Campos said.