Malacañang calls for more local processing of ores

Posted on November 28, 2016

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte said he is pushing for more local processing in the mining industry in order for the country to capture more value from mineral resources and ensure the industry’s sustainability.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte is pushing for more local processing in the mining industry to capture more value from mineral resources and ensure the industry’s sustainability. -- BW FILE PHOTO
“The industrialization in a resource-rich country like the Philippines invariably involves value-adding activities for downstream processing of metallic mineral resources,” according to a speech by Mr. Duterte delivered by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) OIC Assistant Director Danilo U. Uykieng at the 63rd Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference on Nov. 18

Mr. Duterte said that a value-added strategy will involve moves to “ensure continued availability and security of supply of materials and commodities, and thereby, minimize risks to the economic growth trajectory, by planning and establishing a robust mine-to-metal value chain.”

The president also ordered the bureau to revisit regulatory and compliance policies for mining and processing of metallic minerals.

Earlier, MGB said that inter-agency recommendations on downstream processing will be released by year end.

The government’s intensive crackdown against miners’ environmental practices led to the suspension of 10 metal mines, with a further 20 recommended for suspension.

These mines made up 55.5% of the country’s total nickel output last year.

In addition, Mr. Duterte also urged the MGB, an agency of the Environment department, to conduct an inventory and further exploration studies, if necessary, of the various natural resources in the country especially magnetite sand deposits, coal, limestone, nickel, and chromite, among others.

The MGB’s aim to industrialize the country’s resources will be part of the agency’s five-point agenda aimed toward “a long-term and stable policy environment that is essential to realize the true potential of our mineral deposits.”

Another point is streamlining renewal of application procedures by reducing the list of requirements and documents that have to be submitted to shorten processing time.

Other points of the agenda include MGB-led inter-agency coordination of regulatory agencies in mining projects, stronger community relations programs, final land use options of mineral lands to be thoroughly discussed and consulted with the local government units, the communities and other stakeholders.

Mr. Duterte’s statement also cited a Philippine Statistics Authority report, which shows that although mining’s contribution to the GDP of the Philippines is 0.6%, mining and quarrying in regions such as Mimaropa account for as much as 20% of gross regional domestic product (GRDP); while in Caraga, the total is 22%.

“This information on the mining contribution to GRDP in Mimaropa and Caraga is enlightening as we know for a fact that mining is concentrated only in certain areas of the country,” said Mr. Duterte.

“The industry must grow for it to contribute more to development in areas with potential mineral deposits,” added the president. -- Janina C. Lim