Lawmaker seeks amendments to Small-Scale Mining Act

MANILA-- A partylist lawmaker at the House of Representatives has filed a bill seeking to redefine small-scale mining to address the loopholes in existing laws and to strengthen government regulation on all small-scale mining activities.

AGBIAG Partylist Rep. Michelle Antonio filed House Bill No. 5921, which seeks to amend Republic Act 7076 or the Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991.

In her explanatory note, Antonio said the existing restrictive definition of small-scale mining has resulted in a gap in the law allowing mining operations not covered by the definition to operate without proper permits.

Antonio pointed out that the existing law has given rise to the conduct of illegal mining through the smuggling of precious metals and minerals, as well as the exploitation of impoverished miners by businessmen under the guise of conducting small-scale mining to evade necessary taxes and permits.

"This (bill) will put a stop in the conduct of illegal mining which has resulted in the smuggling of our country's precious minerals, and the senseless deaths of Filipinos all for abusive businesses' pursuit to monopolize small-scale mining," she said.

Under the bill, small-scale mining shall refer to mining activities carried out by individuals, groups, or communities who rely primarily on manual labor in the conduct of their daily operations, and are aided by simple implement, methods, mining machinery and technology.

Furthermore, the bill stipulates that small-scale mining will also cover all mining activities that are not eligible and not qualified to obtain the following agreements:

(a) exploration permit approved by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau;

(b) mineral agreements approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources;

(c) financial or technical assistance agreements approved by the President;

(d) quarry permit granted by the provincial governor of the quarry area;

(e) mineral trading registration accredited with the Department of Trade and Industry;

(f) environmental compliance certificates issued by the DENR.

I am filing this bill to update the archaic definition of small-scale mining which has resulted in a lacuna in the law, Antonio said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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