Philippine Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary for Climate Change and Mining Concerns Analiza Teh said the potential of the mining sector to be in the forefront of economic development in that country “has yet to be completely realized.” Teh spoke at the opening of a three-day Mining Conference held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.

“Our goal now is how to maximize this potential to boost growth without compromising the protection of the environment and ensuring the sustainability of mining practices,” Teh said.

Teh identified five mining projects that are expected to increase the contribution of the mining sector to the economy. These are:

  • The Tampakan Copper-Gold project in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur with a total capital investment of US$8.20 billion.
  • Kingking Copper-Gold mining project in Compostela Valley – US$2.29 billion.
  • Silangan Copper-Gold in Surigao del Norte – US$40.43 billion.
  • The Pujada Nickel project in Davao Oriental – PHP540.36 billion.
  • The Balabag Gold-Silver project in Zamboanga del Sur -- PHP1.04 billion.

“These mining projects are expected to bring billions of U.S. dollars worth of revenues during its operations,” she said.

Teh also underscored the need for the mining industry to “address the problems on environmental degradation, unsustainable mining practices, and human rights violation” to ensure the success of these projects.

“The government and the industry need to work on improving public perception and enhance public confidence in the industry’s capacity to implement genuine responsible mining,” she noted.

Fitch Solutions Macro Research earlier said Philippine mining, particularly the nickel sector, can get a relief from Indonesia’s nickel ore export ban starting January 1, 2020, two years earlier than originally scheduled 2022.

This has created an opportunity for Philippine nickel miners “to alleviate the impending supply shortfall in Indonesia – the largest nickel producer globally,” according to the report by Fitch Solutions Macro Research.

“We believe nickel smelters in China, which currently import the majority of their ore from Indonesia, will likely look to the Philippines as an alternative source of supply, due to its proximity and substantial nickel mining capacity,” it added.

Last year, the Philippines was the second-biggest nickel ore supplier to China, next to Indonesia.

*Article published in the April-June 2020 issue of The Asia Miner