The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now working to expedite the application process for priority mining projects, particularly in two areas in Mindanao.
DENR Sec. Jim Sampulna said there is a need to facilitate the mining applications in Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula since the government would benefit a lot from them amid the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In our country’s quest for economic recovery from the long recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the mining industry may well play a significant role. Our country has around 9 million hectares of land with high mineral potential, out of its total land area of 30 million hectares,”said Sampulna.
Sampulna said among the issues that would be resolved are the fast-tracking of issuance of environmental compliance certificates through simplified geological study by the Environmental Management Bureau, the creation of a one-stop shop to streamline mining applications by the Mining and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and the faster process on issuance of area and dredging clearances by the Department of Public Works and Highways and issuance of the Certificate of Non-Overlap.
MGB Director Wilfredo O. Moncano said that the aim to address the challenges in filing applications, securing certifications, acquiring permits, and operations of mining projects were mostly considered by the concerned agencies.
“There were some issues that cannot be addressed because these were not under the jurisdiction of the MGB and the other national government agencies that were present. We can bring these issues to the proper agencies. But, for the other issues, I believe we were able to come up with solutions on most of the problems raised in the consultative meeting,” Moncano said.
In a consultative meeting, the applications of Holcim Resources and Development Corporation and CEKAS Development Corporation in Northern Mindanao and that of the TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc.’s Balabag Gold and Silver Project and Canatuan Project and the Industrial Sand and Gravel permit holders in the Zamboanga Peninsula were discussed.
Moncano said that apart from the prompt approval of permits, the meeting also aimed for the compliance of the Ease of Doing Business Law, improvement in the mines permitting system, faster development of the mineral sector, and increased production capacities of mines.