MANILA - Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Thursday he favored higher excise taxes on mining, as the industry awaited the fate of his predecessor's policy directives.
The current excise tax rate is "too small" and raising it would result in "very big revenue" for the government, Cimatu told reporters.
Cimatu said the inter-agency Mining Industry Coordinating Council would meet next week to discuss whether or not to continue a ban on open-pit mining that was instituted by his predecessor, Gina Lopez.
A moratorium on new mining projects is also under review, Cimatu told reporters.
"We shall take our cue from the President's statements," Cimatu said, citing recent speeches by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Mining companies will be given "elbow room" but open pit will have to stop "at some point" in favor of more sustainable practices.
Cimatu said Duterte was against mining in watersheds and wanted trees planted in areas that are not used in mining operations.