The city of Sipalay is projected to have P300 million more in taxes annually, if the three mining companies resume their operations, Mayor Oscar Montilla said.
Montilla said the Philex Mining Corp. is now conducting exploration works, while the Selenga Mining Company is working on its project study.
However, there is no notice yet on who will take over the management of the Maricalum Mining Company, he added.
Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Philex Mining Corporation, had earlier said that the mothballed Bulawan Gold Mine, may resume mining operations in Sipalay City in two to three years.
Mining firms are searching for copper and gold, among other minerals, in the hinterlands of Sipalay and Hinobaan in southern Negros.
Aside from the P100 million projected taxes from each of the three mining firms, Montilla said they it will also generate employment at a maximum of 2,000 individuals from each of the mining companies.
MMC still owes P50 million in taxes to the city government of Sipalay, Montilla also said.
Environmentalist groups and the New People’s Army are opposing the resumption of mining operations in Negros Occidental, which they accuse to be behind the alleged environmental destruction in Sipalay City.
Pangilinan questioned the continuous opposition to mining of environmental advocates, saying that “Philex is definitely for responsible mining operations”.
Philex is undertaking detailed mapping and geochemical surveys of areas under three projects – the Vista Alegre in the western side of the Bulawan, the Bulog, and the Cayas exploration project that was issued an exploration permit in July 2010, covering seven barangays of Sipalay with 4,381 hectares.
Montilla said he will push for 70 to 80 percent of the work force to be Sipalaynons if they resume operations.
Earlier, Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. had said that the reopening of the mines will boost the economy and provide employment in southern Negros, and that the provincial government will keep a close watch to ensure that environmental protection requirements are strictly complied with.*GPB