Government moves to legalize small-scale mining
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will fast track the processing of applications of several Minahang Bayan as the government moves towards regulating and legalizing small-scale mining operations in the country.

Being largely fragmented, small-scale miners produces more than the large-scale industry, but the country does not benefit from them in terms of taxation as they are not being regulated.

“We promise to fast track Minahang Bayan applications so that small-scale mining operations are legalized and regulated,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

The government has long been urged to place small-scale miners under the watch of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) just like the large-scale miners, to ensure a more effective implementation of the law.

The government had ruled small-scale mining activities operating outside the Minahang Bayan are illegal in nature and should be stopped immediately.

A Minahang Bayan centralizes processing of minerals within a zone where the government will be able to better monitor gold production by small-scale miners. It helps the government curb illegal mining and mitigate the adverse environmental impact of indiscriminate mining operations in the country.

At present, there are only three existing Minahang Bayan in the country which are located in Masbate, Davao Oriental and Samar.

There are about 300,000 to 500,000 small-scale miners operating in 40 mineral-rich provinces nationwide, majority of which operates outside the Minahang Bayan.

The DENR said the requirements for Minahang Bayan application include an evaluation report from the MGB, results of initial review of the DENR and MGB, and proofs of notice to mining tenement holders, private land owners, to the host local government units and to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

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