Mining EO offers ‘glimmer of hope’By Ayan C. Mellejo
DAVAO CITY—The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said there is a glimmer of hope in President Benigno Aquino’s Executive Order (EO) on Mining, saying it sees growth in the mining industry despite the challenges facing it.
In Tuesday’s forum on “Responsible Mining” sponsored by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Senate Philippines, the Chamber’s vice president for communication Rocky Dimaculangan said the EO seeks to harmonize the conflicting national and local laws on mining, especially in terms of approving and handling mining applications.
At the forum, Dimaculangan claimed the country’s potential mining wealth could reach $840 billion or P47 trillion or ten times the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said the country ranked third in gold, fourth in copper, fifth in nickel, and sixth in chromite.
Chamber chairman Artemio Disini, for his part, sees investments from 17 new large-scale projects, mostly new nickel mines in Mindanao, up to 2018 amounting to $15.3 billion, with annual revenue of $12-14 billion starting in 2018 for the next 20 years.
He said this could mean 410,000 jobs (total direct employment) with a multiplier effect to 2,050,000 jobs benefiting 10.25 million Filipinos, he said.
12 million hectares
According to Disini, the areas covered by mining applications as of 2011 totaled to 12 million hectares, in addition to 60,000 hectares where current operations are ongoing.
Currently, there are 30 operating metallic mines, one nickel processing plant; one gold refinery; one copper smelter; 730 approved/registered tenements, and 1,818 mining and exploration applications under process in the country.
But the mining industry faces security issues, heightened opposition to large-scale mining operations, illegal small-scale mining, indiscriminate issuance of permits by local government units, and local ordinances banning open pit mining, Dimaculangan said.
He said these were affecting foreign direct investments in mining, which dropped in 2011 to $240.43 million, compared with 2010 at $282.08 million.