Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani topped with 25 and 24 applications, respectively. Thirteen applications are in South Cotabato while 12 are in North Cotabato.
Among the listed minerals these companies are seeking to explore are gold, silver, copper, limestone and other precious metals.
Of the total applications, however, only the Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) holds a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).
According to the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the FTAA “is a mode of mining contract that allows majority foreign equity, and is open to large-scale mining projects with initial capital of at least US$50 million for mine infrastructure and development. The fiscal regime defines the benefit sharing scheme between the FTAA contractor and the government, as owner of minerals.”
SMI owns the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project whose ore deposits are reported to be the largest in South East Asia.
Three others have acquired a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), a mode of mining agreement whereby the government inputs only the mineral resources and for which it gets an agreed share from the gross output value of the minerals produced, and net mining revenue before income tax.
The three firms with MPSA are TMC-Tribal Mining Corporation located in T'boli, South Cotabato, the FADICASU Mining Corp. (Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat) and the Kalinan Timber Corporation (Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat).
Twenty two companies have pending application for MPSA while 25 others have applied for exploration permits.
Seventeen of these applications, including that of SMI, were filed much earlier in Region 11, which then included South Cotabato and General Santos.
The MBG listing however did not indicate the dates when these applications were filed.
It also did not indicate the owners of the different corporations and companies that applied for exploration except for SMI, which is controlled by XStrata Copper, a subsidiary of Anglos-Swiss mining giant XStrata Plc.
A map provided by MGB indicated that large areas in Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat have already been covered by different mining applications. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews)