The interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) is undertaking the second round of its “objective, science-based, and fact-finding” audit of mining operations in the fourth week of July, and expects such a review to be completed by January next year.
Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said the second audit, which will cover 17 mining operations across the country, will be conducted by the same technical teams that undertook the first round of reviews last year covering 26 mines.
“The MICC will complete the review and management teams in the second and third week of July. We will tap around 15 experts from the same technical teams that did the first audit,” said Agabin who chaired an MICC meeting held recently at the DOF main office in Manila.
Agabin said the 15 experts will be grouped into three teams with five members for each panel, and will have senior and junior technical and research assistants to help them with the audit.
The review will cover the environmental, economic, social, legal and technical aspects of the mining operations, he said.
Earlier, the MICC deferred a recommendation on the lifting of the moratorium on the issuance of new mineral agreements.
Executive Order (EO) 79 imposed a moratorium on new mineral agreements “until a legislation rationalizing existing revenue sharing schemes and mechanisms shall have taken effect”.
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law or Republic Act No. 10963 increased the excise tax on mineral products from 2 percent to 4 percent. DENR queried whether the increase would be considered as having satisfied the condition of a legislation rationalizing the existing revenue sharing scheme.
However, the DOF clarified that TRAIN only increased the excise taxes and did not cover the implementation of a new fiscal regime for mining. The new fiscal regime proposed by the DOF covers other taxes and fees, such as royalty, windfall, profit, and incentives.
Given the clarification, the MICC resolved to defer a recommendation to lift the moratorium on new mineral agreements, stressing that a new revenue-sharing scheme and mechanisms for mining will be covered in the Package 2 plus of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), which will have to be refiled in the incoming 18th Congress.