MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The implementing rules and regulations for the government's new mining policy has been suspended.
In a memo issued today, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources suspended the implementation of the IRR which was to take effect tomorrow.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau director Leo Jasareno told ANC the IRR's implementation is being suspended to allow for the inclusion of the revisions agreed upon by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC).
"The IRR is supposed to take effect Sept 29, however everyone knows there is a forthcoming amendment to the IRR and these amendments are intended to clarify sections of the IRR. So the department thinks there is a reason to suspend the implementation so when the IRR is implemented later on, it will already carry the amendment and provide for the clarification," he said.
The MICC on Monday agreed to revise several sections of the IRR, which were opposed by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines. The revisions have yet to be approved by President Aquino.
Mining companies opposed the IRR, which does not allow the automatic renewal of a mining contract, saying it violates existing laws. They said they are ready to raise the matter before the courts.
Under the original IRR, Section 9 stated the government can renegotiate the terms of mining contracts after the first 25 years. The Chamber of Mines raised objections to the provision, saying it effectively shortens the mining project period from the current maximum period of 50 years.
Jasareno said the revisions in the IRR clarifies the controversial provision. "The applicant and government must agree on certain terms otherwide the renewal application will not be considered and the contract will be considered expired and bidding will follow," he said.
Despite objections raised by mining companies, Jasareno said the government stands firm on the IRR.
"We think we have provided the necessary clarifications," he said. - With ANC