Gov't says policies will reduce speculation in exploration permits
MANILA, Philippines -- The government says its policies have reduced speculation in the application for metal exploration permits.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Leo Jasareno said his agency got just 161 exploration applications in the first two days since it resumed accepting them. That compares with the 1,218 permits it canceled after permit holders failed to conduct any activity.
"We canceled 1,218 permits. At least the same number should have been filed but with just 161 filed, this means other areas were just for speculation. So we now have a more serious roster of applicants," Jasareno said in a text message.
He said higher fees may have also discouraged some speculators from applying. The government is trying to control the practice of speculators obtaining permits with no intent of conducting exploration activity, but just waiting for a serious explorer to buy them out.
Jasareno said it accepted 21 of the 161 for processing, rejected 98 and sent 42 back for revisions. Applications were rejected because they were in areas designated as "no-go zones" for mining, or for irregularly shaped areas or because applicants lacked minimum capitalization, SEC documents or other requirements, he said.
The government resumed receiving new exploration applications this week after a two-year moratorium after having completed its "no-go zone" map and canceled 1,218 permits under a "use it or lose it" policy. A moratorium on new mining applications stays until Congress revises tax and revenue-sharing laws to increase government revenue.