The Department of Trade and Industry said the electronics and construction industries are expected to benefit from domestic mineral processing.

At the Mining Philippines International Conference and Exhibition, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said the Philippines’ “abundance of natural resources… hold the promise of both economic development and sustainable progress.”

“With a local supply of essential metals like gold, copper, and rare earth minerals, we can climb up the value chain from merely assembling products to producing intricate components, thereby capturing more value within our borders,” Mr. Pascual said.

He said the construction industry could also benefit when given access to domestically produced materials.

“Access to domestically produced steel, copper, and other materials could bring down costs, making it more affordable to build the infrastructure needed to sustain our growing population and the economy,” he added.

Mr. Pascual said that the Philippines must recognize that despite the growing demand for minerals, the added value that can be generated from processing these minerals cannot be overlooked.

“As we all know, extracting minerals is just the first step in a long chain that ultimately brings prosperity to a nation. The real wealth lies in the value-added processes — refining, smelting, and further manufacturing — that can dramatically increase the economic value of these raw materials,” he said.

He said exporting raw ores gives away the opportunity to add significant value to the resource. 

“Refined metals can be worth three to ten times more than their raw, unprocessed forms. By establishing our own processing plants, we could create thousands of high-skilled jobs, encourage technological innovation, and build competitive industries serving domestic and international markets,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile