Mining in the Philippines

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A. Introduction

The Philippine Government believes that a well-developed minerals industry is an option that can catalyze economic development and community empowerment. Minerals are part of its national patrimony, hence there is a big responsibility to maximize the benefits that can be derived from their utilization with due regard to the protection of the environment and without sacrificing the interests of communities.

The legal and administrative framework governing the minerals industry in the Philippines is contained in Republic Act No. 7942 (otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995) and given flesh by its revised implementing rules and regulations (Administrative Order No. 96-40) and its subsequent amendments. These policies advocate the sustainable development of mineral resources in the country.

While both the Mining Act and its regulations provide a strong focus on environmental and social management, they continue to be the subject of debate by some non-government organizations who are questioning the compatibility of extraction and utilization of minerals with sustainable development. Also, they have questioned the constitutionality of the major provisions of the Mining Act governing the participation of foreign-owned corporations in the exploration, development and utilization of these mineral resources by filing a case at the Supreme Court in February, 1997. After eight years of study, the high court initially decided to sustain the charge of the contesting parties. However, after successful presentation of arguments by Government and industry on the merits of allowing foreign investors to participate in the development of the minerals industry, the case was finally resolved in December 1, 2004 when the high court reversed its earlier decision and upheld the constitutionality of the contested provisions in the Mining Act. With this legal impediment removed, exploration and development activities in the Philippine minerals industry

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