By Adrian H. Halili, Reporter

Australian-owned mining services company Orica Philippines, Inc. is placing a bullish bet on the mining industry by expanding its operations here, an official said.

“Going forward I think there is a lot to be optimistic about. There are some world class deposits here in the Philippines. As they get developed the technology that Orica offers is going to be relevant,” Gordon Wallace, country head for Orica in the Philippines, told BusinessWorld in an interview.

Mr. Wallace said that the expected growth of the mining industry has encouraged the company to invest in its Philippine operations.

“We are eagerly awaiting the re-emergence of the mining industry growth here is the Philippines… and we are resourcing ourselves (for) the future,” he said.

“As an organization we have a lot to offer to the Philippines. We have made very large technology investments and we have a portfolio of products and services that would be applicable here,” he added.

Orica provides commercial explosives and blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas, and construction markets. Its parent firm is Australia Stock Exchange-listed Orica Ltd.

“The industry is starting to recover and build some momentum; construction activity is back from the pandemic lows and mine sites are expanding. So that leads to a positive growth outlook for us,” he said.

He said, however, that the company does not expect any immediate changes to the market due to the slow process of mining approvals.

“It does take a very long time to get a significant mining project off the ground… the wholesale change of the industry (will) take time,” he added.

Mr. Wallace added that the company’s electronic blasting systems and environment monitoring technologies will help miners navigate a regulatory environment that expects them to operate more safely and responsibly.

“As mines get closer and closer to communities, that aspect of the mining cycle gets more sensitive and important. Going forward (these technologies) are going to be a big focus for the Philippines,” he added.

He said that Orica’s wireless blasting system WebGen allows the use of less risky mining methods.

“Particularly with a focus on risk reduction and safety, it allows the mining method to fundamentally change so that we can (remove) people from the dangerous areas of the mine and use mechanization instead,” he added.

He said that as mineral deposits get deeper the company’s proprietary technology allows more companies to manage risk.