MANILA - An 18-month moratorium on new mining projects in the Philippines can be lifted only after lawmakers approve new legislation on mining revenues and a presidential executive order is signed, Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on Monday.
As a key step towards lifting a moratorium on new mining projects enforced since January last year, the new legislation could pave the way for up to $12 billion in new investments over the next five years.
Asked when the moratorium would be lifted, Aquino told Reuters in an interview that it would need "the EO (executive order) plus the necessary changes to the legislation".
Mining industry officials have expressed frustration over the delay in the granting of permits for new projects, and legislation is likely to hold up permits further.
The Southeast Asian nation, which sits on an estimated $1 trillion worth of untapped metal resources - mostly gold, nickel and copper - expects to attract about $2.3 billion in investments in new and existing projects this year, if the moratorium is lifted by the third quarter.