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US water technology company keen on local projects

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US-based water technology company Xylem, Inc. aims to boost its presence in the Philippines by participating in a number of projects, including those in the mining sector, to help them become responsible stewards of water, company officials said.

“Philippines is one of the fastest-growing markets in Southeast Asia. We already started to see a number of projects, on flood control, on non-revenue water, investing in water losses,” Koh Ching Hin, Xylem’s managing director for Southeast Asia, in a press conference in Mandaluyong on Wednesday.

“The other market we are developing now is for the mining sector,” Mr. Koh added.

According to the company’s website, New York Stock Exchange-listed Xylem offers different projects for the mining industry namely: submersible slurry pumps, packaged biological treatment system, leaching, open pit dewatering, grinding mill, fire suppression system, floating water monitoring stations, environmental monitoring stations, source water pontoon, and underground dewatering.

Mr. Koh said that Xylem seeks to partner with water concessionaires in the country.

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Patrick K. Decker, Xylem’s president and chief executive officer, said the company is cautious about the mining sector in the Philippines due to its sensitivity, as lawmakers look at banning open-pit mining, as well as raising the excise tax for minerals to 5%.

“There’s more money spent on water management that there is on the actual mining operations itself. This is just a very intensive aspect of the mining processes,” he said.

“Our angle is to try to help the mining companies themselves be better stewards with the water that they are generating in a day. Our view is somebody has to be there as a responsible water steward to help them with water displacement,” he added.

Last year, former Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez ordered the cancellation of 75 mineral production share agreements, which cover watershed areas, but many of which were still in the exploration stage.

“I would say that the Philippines is no further behind than other members of Southeast Asia but still has a lot of work to be dine, but I would also say there seems to be a real commitment on the part of your government to be investing in wastewater infrastructure and clean water infrastructure in the next five years … It’s a big investment plan,” Mr. Decker said.

Xylem, which reported revenues of $4.7 billion in 2017, does business in more than 150 countries. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio

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