Davao City  — 
Government mining officials want to review service contracts and agreements with companies operating in the gold-rich Barangay Diwalwal in Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

Officials from Region 11’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the National Task Force Diwalwal revealed that the government earned little either because mining firms have folded up or have failed to properly account its remittances.

Engineer Fedeliz Echavez of NTFD said that only one of the four companies that entered into joint operating venture agreement (JOA) with the government’s Philippine Mineral Development Council (PMDC) for exploration has remained in operation.

Only the Blackstone company remained with exploration activities in Ulip in Diwalwal, while the Pacominco Mining, Carascal Nickel, and Paraiso Consolidated did not conduct exploration in the 729-hectare wide Diwalwal gold area.

Attorney  Wilfredo Moncano of MGB’s Mine Management Division said the other companies closed because these were “not accepted” by communities.

The government apportioned 8,100 hectares in Diwalwal as a mining development site, taking over areas once occupied by thousands of small-scale miners. It created first the PDMC and then another corporation the Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDC) to monitor the operations.

The MGB also wants to review the remittances of local mining company JBMMC following reports that remittance to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank) has dipped as much as 80% based on 2005 reports.

Echavez said they want to check on the accounting of the company’s tax payments to the town of Monkayo such as management fee and other local taxes.

He said the production of JBMMC is estimated at 150 tons per month that is approximate at P1.5 million in value.

Echavez demanded the company produce a community development plan as stipulated in the agreement.  He said JBMMC could face suspension of permit if they failed to comply.

Aside from these big companies, the NDRC is also looking to deal with small scale miners who have refused to share their income due to high percentage of excise tax.

Echaves said the NDRC is in negotiations with small scale miners to settle this matter in order to enter into a service contract, which has not been renewed in the past three years.

The environment group Panalipdan Southern Mindanao said the government has to heed the demands of the small scale miners such as granting a people’s mining site and cancel the JOA with JBMMC, which they claimed, had displaced them from their tunnels. (davaotoday.com)

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