Mining-tax reforms await Cabinet action 19 September 2013 | Business Mirror PROPOSED mining-tax reforms have yet to be “vetted” by the Cabinet before they could be endorsed for congressional enactment, Malacañang said on Wednesday. “There are drafts already of the legislation for the mining tax,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang told reporters at a Palace briefing. “So, we expect them to be vetted by the larger economic cluster in the next few weeks.” In a related development, it was revealed that Mindoro is sitting on more than $40 billion worth of nickel that could be produced from the Mindoro Nickel Project, making it potentially the largest nickel producer and the only refined nickel-metal plant in the Philippines. The project straddles the towns of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, and Victoria, Oriental Mindoro, and has a total of more than 350 million tons of laterite resources defined to date, which hold approximately 3 million tons of nickel, Sven Monrad Jensen, executive vice president of Intex Resources Philippines Inc., said. Carandang sought to allay concerns that the government would likely fall short of its mining investment targets, with a number of projects in the pipeline facing further delays because of the lack of fixed-revenue sharing rates to be spelled out in a new law that Congress must pass first. Carandang, who sits in the meetings of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), said the remedial legislation has not yet been endorsed to Congress due to ongoing consultations with affected sectors. “We’ve taken into account the stakeholders. There are many stakeholders here—there are mining companies, the industry, there are environmentalists, there are local governments—and we try as much as possible to engage them as we come up with something like this,” Carandang said. He disclosed there has been a lot of back and forth between the MICC and the different stakeholders. “So we are just making sure everyone is consulted and we are already actually writing the legislation—the draft for the legislation.” Carandang acknowledged that the delay would likely set back the 2016 mining investment targets fixed earlier. “But we would rather get this thing right than hold ourselves to some deadline that may or may not be met. I think, at the end of the day, the industry and even the local governments would rather have something that is acceptable for the most number of people, even if it comes down to not submitting it, say, within the next week or so.” But he kept the door open to readjusting the target if the MICC-endorsed legislation is not passed soon. “There has been no formal discussion about adjusting the targets. But it’s not something that we are closed to. I mean, if it doesn’t look like we’re gonna meet those targets, then we may have to. But there has been no formal discussion about it.”
Intex Resources Philippines Inc. 2014