Philippines lifts moratorium on new mine exploration
MANILA (REUTERS) - The Philippines will lift from Monday its two-year ban on new mining applications, removing a hurdle faced by investors looking to develop the country's mineral reserves worth about US$850 billion (S$1.06 trillion).
The poor but resource-rich Southeast Asian nation ranks third in the world in gold, fourth in copper and fifth in nickel, the Philippines Mines and Geosciences Bureau agency says.
But the development of mineral resources has been stalled by the government's mine policy reviews and a gap between regional and national rules on mining. The government is also seeking to raise mining royalties through regulation.
The environment secretary approved a recommendation by the mining regulator for the January 2011 moratorium on exploration applications to be lifted, a copy of the document given to reporters showed.