The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 6 (MGB-6) has tightened its monitoring on industrial, sand, and gravel operations in Western Visayas as the local mining industry logged negative gains in 2018 over unreported mineral extractions.
MGB-6 Regional Director Roger A. de Dios said the Philippines Statistic Authority (PSA) data on Western Visayas boom on construction is what gave away these unregulated operations.
According to said PSA data, last year’s growth for the mining and quarrying sector in the region had a significant drop to negative 1.5 percent from 36.7 percent recorded in 2017. Construction, on the other hand, showed a growth of 14.3 percent in 2018 – an impressive increase from the 4.3 growth posted the year before.
“That’s why it was really proven in the PSA report in the corresponding contribution of minerals in terms of RGDP (Regional Gross Domestic Product). It did not jive with the increase in construction activities in the region. For me it does not even reach 50 percent, I’m very sure of that,” de Dios was quoted in a report by the Philippine News Agency.
Since the discovery of unreported mineral extractions, MGB changed its policy by doubling the volume of extracted minerals required for operators to address the problem.
“We require applicants now to increase their volume to a maximum of around 20,000 cubic meters. The 10,000 allowed by local government units concerned is not viable for industrial operations,” said de Dios.
After stricter monitoring, permittees only allowed 1,000 cubic meters a year were exposed having exceeding extraction volumes. One operator was also penalized for its stockpile reaching 30,000 cubic meters despite having a 3,000 cubic meter volume limit.
Deliveries with tampered or lacking date and volume improperly indicated are now carefully monitored by MGB. This is in lined with MGB’s goal of minimizing pilferage and misreporting corrected by conducting training led by the bureau.
Failure to declare actual volume of extracted minerals by permittees caused the government to lose billions of taxes.
Aside from these measures, MGB also urges local government units to establish checkpoints and create task forces in order to properly monitor the transport and delivery of aggregates, including sand and gravel.