A port is pictured as trucks and a backhoe load rocks and soil containing nickel-ore minerals into a barge in the mining town of Sta Cruz, Zambales, Feb. 8, 2017. — REUTERS

GERMAN companies are interested in joining the Philippines’ mining industry, according to the European country’s top diplomat in Manila.

German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel, in an email interview with BusinessWorld, cited “investment opportunities in the area of rare earths and metals like copper and nickel.” 

“We want to increase the production of goods, as well as the offering of services,” she said, noting that there have been German companies that worked in production sites in the Philippines. 

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau estimated the value of metallic mineral output in the first nine months of 2022 at P175.61 billion, up 29.21%

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has said he wants the mining industry to be a key economic contributor. A four-year ban on open pit mining was lifted in Dec. 2021, six months before the previous administration stepped down.

At the same time, the embassy also plans to put more focus on environmental issues, human rights and international law as it strengthens ties with the Philippine government.  

“We are planning to intensify our cooperation in fields like climate and environment, human rights and rule of law, as well as our joint engagement for the international rules-based order in the region,” Ms. Reiffenstuel said.  

The Philippines and Germany’s business cooperation mostly involves renewable energy and energy networks, electronics, industry, business process outsourcing, education, health, construction and farming.

“In our approach of diversifying Germany’s supply chains and investments, German companies are looking particularly into Southeast Asia for new investments,” she said.  

“The Philippines, being a democracy with a free market economy, are providing good investment conditions,” she added. “This is further amplified by young, qualified and motivated Filipino workers.” 

However, the embassy noted that the German investors remain concerned about difficulties in regulatory and permitting processes in the Philippines, and restrictions on foreign participation in various sectors.

“The ease of doing business can be improved, harbor procedures expedited and made more transparent, (and) the limitation of foreign ownership further reduced, particularly in construction, crew manning agencies, and renewable energy facilities,” the ambassador said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan