Dinagat to sue 2 more mining firms for unpaid taxes

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/24 April) — Two more mining companies will be included in the lawsuit filed by the Province of Dinagat Islands for refusal to settle local tax obligations.

Provincial Information Officer Jane Mayola identified the companies as Wellex Mining Corp. and AAM-PHIL Natural Resources Exploration and Development Corp.

These mining firms have been extracting nickel ore in Dinagat and shipping them abroad.

Mayola said Wellex Mining which operates in the towns of Libjo, Tubajon and Loreto has unpaid taxes of P24.8 million, and Aamphil P12.4 million.

She said the provincial board has authorized Gov. Glenda Ecleo to file cases against these companies for their failure to settle their Soil Depletion Tax Liability.

Three other mining firms, Cagdianao Mining Corp. (CMC), Krominco Inc. and Century Peak Corp., which are also shipping nickel ore abroad, will be included in the lawsuit.

CMC, a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corporation, has the highest liability amounting to at least P174.8 million. This includes “interests and penalties since 2009 until 2014 shipments of minerals”.

Century Peak has a liability of P22.5 million while Krominco has an outstanding balance of P6.9 million.

Cagdianao Mining operates in Cagdianao town, Krominco has been mining in Libjo town while Century Peak has been operating in Libjo and Loreto.

Enacted by the provincial board in 2009, the Soil Depletion Tax imposes a one-percent tariff on gross receipts of all mineral ore “extracted and/or shipped” from the province.

“The provincial government of Dinagat Islands is in the process of filing a case at Regional Trial Court Brach 32 against these mining companies that were unable to pay Soil Depletion Tax,” said Board member Mario Menil.

Eight large-scale mining companies currently operate in Dinagat, which is a declared mineral reservation. That means on top of the two-percent excise tax, mining companies in the province also pay five-percent royalty based on the market value of the gross output of the minerals they extract.

Earlier, Dulmar M. Raagas, president of the Chamber of Mines-Caraga Region Inc., said most of their members consider the Dinagat tax to be a form of double taxation.

Raagas considers this tax excessive saying other mining provinces don’t have the same tax scheme.

Menil said Krominco questioned the legality of the Soil Depletion Tax in a local court and asked for a restraining order.

But he said the court ruled in favor of the provincial government.

Menil, however, said that while the provincial government will do what is necessary to collect the taxes it is amenable to an amicable settlement with the mining companies. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)