The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is working to secure a budget for the hiring of  more people as it anticipates an influx of several new mining applications following the signing of Executive Order 130, which lifted the ban on new mineral projects.

 In a text exchange, MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano told Business Bulletin that he is expecting more mining applications to be lodged this year aside from the 100 plus  applications being processed now.

MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano (Photo credit:

“That is our expectation. MGB for sure will have their hands full, but we will see,” Moncano said.

When asked if MGB has the capacity to accept more applications, Moncano said that MGB already submitted a request to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for additional manpower.

Unfortunately, he said, “the request has not been considered favorably.”
Moncano said that it takes about a year to process a mining application whether it is a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) or a Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).

 An MPSA is an agreement where the government grants the contractor the exclusive right to conduct mining operations within a contract area and shares in the gross output. This is only available to Philippine citizens or companies that are majority or 60-percent owned by Filipinos. 

  FTAA, on the other hand, is an agreement for the large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of mineral resources. It can be held by non-Philippine nationals or corporations that are 100 percent foreign-owned.

Corporations that are owned by foreigners or do not meet the minimum Philippine ownership rule usually enter into joint ventures with Philippine citizens or enter into an FTAA with the government.

  “Before I assume office, it [the application process for mining] averages about six years. This process starts from the region to the DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] Secretary. Now we have reduced it to about a year. The period of approval is lengthened if some other government office or other entity delays the issuance of certain certifications,” Moncano said.

  To secure a mining permit, companies must obtain clearances from other government offices like Forest Management Bureau (FMB), Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), Land Management Bureau, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), among others.

Mining companies must also obtain Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), Tree Cutting Permit, Foreshore Lease Agreement or Special Land Use Agreement, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) permit for loading port, endorsement from local government units, memorandum of agreement with Indigenous People (IP), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) permit.

Miners likewise have to submit for approval their respective Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP), Safety and Health Programs (SHP), final mine rehabilitation, and decommissioning plan (FMRDP), and Care and Maintenance Program (CMP).  

The MGB has so far issued 309 MPSAs all over the country. Of the total, 51 MPSAs are in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Dinagat Islands in Caraga. 

40 MPSAs are in Zambales (Central Luzon), 36 in Calabarzon, 32 in Central Visayas, 26 in Bicol region, and 19 in Samar and Leyte (Western Visayas).

There are also 18 MPSAs issued in Davao Region that are mostly inside and surrounding the Diwalwal Mineral Reservation. The rest of the MPSAs are spread in other regions.

Meanwhile, there are currently five existing FTAAs in the Philippines.

The other day, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the government is considering imposing more requirements on new mining applications amid the implementation of EO 130.

This, he said, is something that will be seriously considered in the drafting of EO 130’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

He said the MGB-DENR-Department of Finance Working Group is set to convene to draft the IRR.

Source: Manila Bulletin (