Mining reform EO out today

Posted at 07/09/12 10:07 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The long-delayed executive order (EO) revamping the mining industry is expected to be released today.

President Benigno Aquino signed the EO on Saturday, but presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the details of the order will be announced by Environment Secretary Ramon Paje this afternoon.

The order, originally due out in February, was intended to boost government revenues from the mining industry while addressing concerns of environmental groups and local governments that mining was causing too much damage.

Aquino was forced to postpone signing the order after mining companies complained it would scare away investors and make the country uncompetitive.

The mining industry has been closely awaiting the order, which is expected to clear up conflicting rules governing the sector.

Aquino had previously said the order would give the government a bigger share of mining revenues and would ban mining in areas deemed crucial for tourism.

The Philippines is believed to have some of the biggest mineral reserves in the world -- the government estimates the country has at least $840 billion in gold, copper, nickel, chromite, manganese, silver and iron.

However, the minerals have been largely untapped, partly because of a strong anti-mining movement led by the influential Catholic Church, while poor infrastructure and security concerns have also kept investors away. - With Agence France-Presse, ANC