Basay mining project ready for privatization

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The government is making progress in its efforts to privatize idle government-owned mining assets, saying the Basay mining project in Negros Oriental is now ready for public auction,

In an online forum, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) director Wilfredo Moncano said  the agency already had several meetings with the Department of Finance (DOF) and its attached agency, the Privatization and Management Office (PMO), regarding the privatization of mining assets.

To be privatized are two former mining tenements, particularly the Basay mining tenement and the Bagacay mining tenement in Samar.

“But right now, what is ready for public auction or privatization is Basay,”Moncano said.

“He said the MGB had already submitted the review to the PMO.

“The MGB will not participate in the public auction. That will be left to the PMO and DOF. What the MGB will be doing is to assist the DOF and the PMO in providing information to package these projects,”Moncano said.

In June last year, Moncano said the MGB would update the mineral resources and mineral reserves data of identified state-owned idle mining assets to determine the viability of future mining operations.

Basay Mining Corp. in Negros Oriental stopped operations in 1983,while  the Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corp. (MMIC Bagacay Mine) in Samar was foreclosed by the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine National Bank in 1984.

Moncano earlier cited  the need to collate and evaluate data to see if the reports of former geologists and mining engineers are compliant with the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code, which was put in place in 2010.

Apart from the Basay project, Moncano said the MGB is also working on the Bagacay project.

He said the agency is also getting more information on other idle mining projects for privatization.

“Some of these projects, idle government projects, may take a little time before they can be privatized,”Moncano said.

Other mining assets identified earlier by the PMO for disposal are Pacific Nickel Philippines Inc. in Surigao del Norte, North Davao Mining Property in Davao del Norte, Maricalum Mining Corp. in Negros Occidental, and Marcopper Mining Corp. in Marinduque.

Moncano said the abandoned mining projects “still have a lot of mineral reserves that can be extracted to help the country recover from the pandemic.”

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