Philippine miners duck taxes by selling gold on the black market

Philippine gold production dropped by over half, but the reduction may have more to do with tax policy than actual output.

The Philippines' Mines and Geosciences Bureau said gold output declined 59% in the first half of the year, compared to the same period a year ago.

Gold is purchased by the country's central bank where the country imposes an excise tax of 2% on top of a creditable withholding tax of 10%.

The tax rate is driving away miners.

"Given the continuing high price of gold and the increasing number of small-scale mining areas, the decrease in gold purchases by the BSP clearly indicates that gold output is going to the black market and smuggling activities," said Ramon Jesus P. Paje, Environment Secretary in a statement.

Outside of gold metal output was down for nickel, copper, zinc and chromite.

The country was producing more iron ore and silver.

Philippine's new president recently enacted regulations clamping down on small miners.