BAGUIO CITY – The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines are banking on a bullish mining industry when the current unstable government policies will be put in place, pinning its hopes for bright prospects in gold and copper in the next three years.
Lawyer Ron Risodoro, Executive Director of the Chamber of Mines and a member of the multi-stakeholder group of the Philippine Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (PHEITI), said from 2011 to present, the government lost some $15.2 billion in investments in the mining industry which could have contributed in improving the state of mining in the country.
He added of the supposed investments, only less than $1 billion was realized while the rest of the investors have either transferred their rights to other companies or abandoned their stakes in the prospective mining operations around the country.
In the next 3 years, the chamber official said that there will be bright prospects for gold and copper while there will be significant drop in nickel because of outside factors.
Risodoro pointed out nickel is dependent on China’s economic growth in the next several years and the flip-flop of Indonesia which is also a major source of nickel.
In 2014, he noted that Indonesia imposed a total ban on the export of nickel but last year, it decided to partially export nickel to other countries which will be an added competitor for the country.
According to him, what is important in the present situation of mining is for the administration to formulate stable policies that will convince potential investors to infuse the needed capital that will make vibrant the mining sector.
In the 1980s, he explained that the contribution of mining to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 5 percent while in the present scenario, mining contributes only 0.6 percent to the country’s GDP.
Risodoro emphasized the country has still substantial ore deposits that when mined, it could help in improving the economy once it will be done responsibly.
The Chamber of Mines is composed of 23 lare-scale mining operators who adhere to the policy of responsible mining to advance the industry to better state for the benefit of the present and future generation of Filipinos.
Of the 43 mining companies in the country, former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez was able o close the operation of 28 companies while incumbent Secretary Roy Cimatu was only able to allow the operation of 1 company from the ones that were closed.
On the issue of open pit mining, he claimed that the discussions are now with the Office of the President to shed light on the issues against open pit mining after the Mineral Investment Coordinating Committee (MICC0 endorsed to lift the ban on open pit mining.
He explained that once the total ban on open pit mining will be imposed, the country will be forced to import coal which is being used to operate some 7percent of the country’s power generation plants that could possibly lead to power rate increases in the future that will affect the living condition of ordinary Filipinos.