By Madelaine B.Miraflor
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is planning to require all mining companies in the country to pay higher mine waste and tailing fees as part of the amendments in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Philippine Mining Act or the Republic Act (RA) 7942 the agency is now pushing for.
To be specific, MGB wants to set the basic fees that shall accrue to the Mine Wastes and Tailings (MWT) fees at P0.10 per metric ton (/MT) of mine wastes and P0.15/MT of tailings both generated from the mining, quarrying, mineral processing operations.
This is provided that the amount of MWT fees per semester shall have a minimum of P2,500.00 payable by all mining companies. There should also be a succeeding increase of P0.05/MT per year for five years for both MWT fees’ reserve fund.
And then a review after five years shall be conducted to determine if further increase is needed.
In the existing law, basic fees that shall accrue to the MWT Reserve Fund is pegged set at P0.05/MT of mine waste produced and P0.10/MT of mill tailings generated from the mining operations.
Another provision that is not in the existing law is that in lieu of the mine wastes fee, nickel mines shall now pay an amount of P1.00/MT of ore shipped or a minimum fee of P500,000.00 per annum, whichever is higher, to be known as Environmental Damaged Compensation Fee.
The amount of fee collected shall accrue to a MWT Reserve Fund and shall be deposited in the Bureau of the Treasury to be used for compensation for damages caused by nickel mining operations.
“The Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Director, is authorized to increase the said fees when national interest and public welfare so require,” MGB said.
As usual, the MWT fees shall be collected semi-annually from each operating mining company.
Rocky Dimaculangan, vice president for corporate communications at Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), an organization of some of the country’s largest mining operations, said this proposed policy is now being reviewed by the mining sector and has yet to make any computation how much the fees will affect the miners.