The Mining Industry Coordination Council will audit the operations of mines within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao later this year, the Department of Finance said Thursday.
It said in a statement the council would conduct the audit, together with representatives and experts from the Bangsamoro government.
The Intergovernmental Relations Body said the participation of Bangsamoro government experts and representatives in the audit would provide the body with a baseline on the status of mining activities in the Bangsamoro region and allow the transfer of skills and technology to BARMM in the evaluation of mining operations.
Co-chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and BARMM Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, the IGRB reached the consensus during their 7th meeting on March 26.
The Bangsamoro government agreed to the inclusion of the mines in the Bangsamoro region in the forthcoming third round of the MICC audit. The audit, targeted to commence in October, will include four mines in the BARMM.
The evaluation will cover the technical, legal, social, economic and environmental aspects of the mining operations—the same framework used in the first two audits done by the MICC on 50 mining operations across the country starting 2018.
The interagency MICC was constituted in 2012, but it was only during the Duterte administration that the review or audit of mining operations was initiated by the council under the co-chairmanship of Dominguez and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
The first phase of the MICC review was done in February to August 2018, while the second one was conducted from October 2019 to December 2020.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier lifted the moratorium on new mineral agreements, allowing the government to enter into new mineral agreements, provided that these would comply with mining laws.
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, the umbrella organization of mining, mineral quarrying and processing companies in the country, cheered the lifting of the nine-year ban on new mining projects through Executive Order No. 130 signed on April 14.
“A major roadblock to the huge potential of the Philippine mining industry to contribute to socio-economic growth has been removed,” the chamber said in a statement.