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Construction

Philippine Resources - June 15, 2021

P20-B Cebu town reclamation project gets PRA nod

Photo Credit: Cebu Landmasters - An architect’s perfective of the Ming-Mori Techno Business Park, a joint project of the municipality of Minglanilla and joint venture Ming-Mori Development Corporation, an affiliate of Cebu Landmasters.  The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) has finally approved the PHP20-billion Ming-Mori reclamation project in the southern town of Minglanilla in Cebu.  The development of the 100-hectare Minglanilla Techno-Business Park marked a strategic milestone on Friday with the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the local government and the PRA. The town was represented by Mayor Elanito Peña and the PRA by general manager and CEO, lawyer Janilo Rubiato.  Witness to the signing ceremony in Citadines Cebu City was Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) CEO Jose Soberano III, chairman and president of CLI affiliate Ming-Mori Development Corp.  CLI will be the developer and manager of the 100-hectare technohub envisioned to be a regional growth center designed to be sustainable and responsive to the environment. PRA coordinates and administers all reclamation projects nationwide and approval of the development indicates that the government has thoroughly evaluated the undertaking.  Because many stakeholders are consulted, PRA’s process takes years.  In 2020, the Ming-Mori project was issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) after more than five years of a rigid and comprehensive review. “The project will take CLI to a brand-new level and widen the range of our customer base to include light-industrial and technology-driven companies,” Soberano said during the press conference at the MOA signing.  “We aim to achieve a balanced and mutually supporting relationship between urban mixed-use development, light-industrial land use and environmental stewardship. This will be our formula for sustainable growth and development,” he added. He said this is one of CLI’s biggest projects to date.  Because of the scale of this project that will take several phases to develop, the company has carefully and meticulously planned it to be “sustainable and supportive of future generations,” he noted.  The Cebuano businessman said the publicly listed firm is fully equipped to develop and manage this high capital project with the solid support of equity and bank partners.  Early this year, the Cebu-based company secured PHP3 billion through the issuance of corporate notes at a very competitive rate to fund early works for Ming-Mori beginning in the fourth quarter in 2021.  CLI has also strengthened its capital base by declaring 123 percent stock dividends to shareholders on record as of June 18, which will be paid on or before July 14. This move prepares the firm for any capital raising in the future. The estate’s proximity to Cebu City makes it a highly viable location for light manufacturing industries especially now that the province’s main industrial parks are fully occupied.  Ming-Mori will also have its own port facilities to link it with the global economy. To further attract locators, Ming-Mori’s first phase will include commercial, residential and institutional zones “to create enough diversity to make it a vibrant community at the outset,” Soberano said. Jobs from light manufacturing firms will initially draw workers and their families into the area to create a critical mass of residents supported by residential and commercial areas, schools, churches, and other institutions.  As more areas become available and are developed, CLI envisions a vibrant waterfront community with lifestyle, business and industry woven together. Peña said the Ming-Mori Techno Business Park is the “long-awaited realization of a dream of many Minglanillahanons that would later become a representation of the progress that all of us will be forever grateful for.”  The Minglanilla Techno Business Park has been masterplanned by globally acclaimed Singapore-based Surbana Jurong Consultants, one of the most successful urban and infrastructure consulting firms in Asia with projects in over 30 countries.    Article Courtesy of The Philippine News Agency

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 15, 2021

Tugade says 38-km PNR Clark Phase 1 project on track

The construction of the 38-kilometer Philippine National Railways (PNR) Clark Phase I project is on track with overall progress rate of almost 50 percent, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said on Monday. Tugade, together with Governor Daniel Fernando, visited and inspected the ongoing construction at the Balagtas Station site in Barangay Borol 1st, which is part of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project in this town. He said the 24/7 construction of the railway started in February 2019 and is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2024. “It is considered to be one of the first major applications of the span by span method here in the Philippines for infrastructure projects,” Tugade told the Philippine News Agency in an interview. The package, he said, is a 14-kilometer long viaduct with three stations, namely Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos. The future PNR railway will sit on top of the elevated concrete section where piers span between 40 to 50-meter distances. “The viaduct of the piers are to be connected by using the Span by Span and Balanced Cantilever Construction Method. Using precast concrete box girders of 60 to70 tons each which were cast here in our Calumpit Yard,” Tugade said. Abigail Verzosa, quantity surveyor manager of Sumitomo Mitsui Corp., contractor of the project, said they already completed the launching of the 22 spans which is equivalent to almost one kilometer. “For the three building stations, namely Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos City, we have already completed the foundation works. In the Balagtas station, we are already at the construction of the platform level. Structural steel roof framing is already in preparation for its launching in the succeeding months,” she said. Verzosa added that at the Guiguinto station, the foundation works have been completed and that they are now working upward for the structural works of the stations. The two remaining launching gantries with a 50-meter span have also been started. The PNR Clark North 1 will have its depot at the Valenzuela Station wherein its trains will pass through Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, until it reaches Malolos City. The project has total budget of PHP106 billion, of which PHP93 billion came from Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) while the Philippine government allotted some PHP13 billion. The PNR Clark Phase I will have 10 stations that will cut across the cities of Manila, Caloocan, Valenzuela, and the municipalities of Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos City. Once completed, the train service is expected to serve 300,000 passengers every day and will reduce travel time between Malolos City and Tutuban from one hour and 30 minutes to only 35 minutes.

Mining

Marcelle P. Villegas - June 14, 2021

Moncano on PH Mining Industry Updates

- 12 May 2021- MGB Director,  Atty. Wilfredo G. Moncano, presented mining industry updates during a virtual meeting of the Philippine Mining and Exploration Association (PMEA). - Executive Order No. 130, Section 1 which is lifting of Section 4, EO No. 79 - The moratorium on mineral agreement. - Moncano announces new MGB Regional Directors

Industry

Abe Almirol - June 11, 2021

DENR Pushes for a $27.5-M Green Cooling Tech Project

Photo Credit: DW In a bid to tighten national policy against ozone depleting substances (ODS), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) initiated a big leap towards cleaner technology among industries using cold chain facilities. The environmental agency wants the Philippine government to promote low carbon, energy efficient systems to eliminate the use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons or HCFC in industries requiring heavy use of refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. Cold chain covers every product that needs cooling from the farmgate to the dining table, including aspects such as transport, storage, transformation, and packaging. So far, sectors dependent on cold chains are the biggest users of ODS. The Global Partnership for Improving the Food Cold Chain in the Philippines (GPI-FCCP), a project which got a $27.5 million funding from the Global Environmental Facility, shall carry out a strategic positioning of environment-friendly cold chain technology across the country. “Refrigeration systems for transporting goods in the food industry will no longer use ODS-HCFC. Stringent policies are important in providing a stable investment environment for investors in ‘green’ cooling technologies,” the DENR said in a statement. The new policies will affect national standards for flammable refrigerants and energy efficiency. GPI-FCCP will also initiate a high-level training for fifty (50) local engineers, system suppliers, and end-users on the use of innovative cold chain technology that are currently used globally. Stakeholders’ participation As a project assisted by the international funder Global Environment Facility (GEF), the GPI-FCCP also includes the training of two hundred (200) key stakeholders on energy-efficiency and climate-friendly cold chain technologies. These trained stakeholders shall serve as champions in the advocacy to popularize new technologies replacing ODS-HCFCs. The major implementers of the GPI-FCCP are the DENR and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The German international cooperation agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) also serves as a co-financer of the project. Agricultural commodities such as meat, dairy, fish, and a broad range of vegetable crops need cooling and freezing systems while in transit, during storage, and at the display shelves. Traditional practices using natural cooling could be seen during harvest times in most farms in the Philippines. The lack of access to refrigerated transportation vehicles taught farmers in Northern Luzon that it is best to transport vegetable products to Metro Manila at night, where heat is lesser, and traffic is lighter. Some known HFC and HCFC alternatives used in Europe include R32 refrigerants tested to have lower global warming potential (GWP), Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), and HFC-HFO blends. A European expert said there is no “cure all” alternative because there are varied safety and thermodynamic properties among refrigerants. Some alternatives do no work well in certain types of products and equipment. Also, geographical locations may affect the efficiency and effectivity of each kind of alternative. PH compliance to the Montreal Protocol DENR said the green cold chain project came about as part of the country’s compliance to its commitment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, a global agreement to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ODS. The ozone is the earth’s protective layer, absorbing UV light which reduces human’s exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation, said to be the leading cause of skin cancer and cataract. “ODS includes chlorofluorocarbons, halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, hydrobromofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), methyl bromide, and bromochloromethane,” DENR explained. Refrigeration technologies have come out as top concern due to low energy efficiency and high global warming potential. Common refrigerants extensively use HCFCs. The Montreal Protocol compelled signatory countries to freeze consumption and production of the ODS-HCFCs. The treaty also called on developing countries to cut by 100% their HCFC production by 2030. Private sector engagement will be crucial in the Philippines’ effort in obtaining knowledge transfer of the most innovative, climate friendly, and energy efficient refrigeration technologies, the DENR said.

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 09, 2021

CLLEX up to Aliaga will open this July

Photo Credit: Department of Public Works and Highways Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar expressed confidence that the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) will be an efficient alternate route for the motoring public going to Nueva Ecija when it opens next month. Despite work slowdown due to the pandemic, the first 18-kilometer segment of CLLEX will be of service to motorists from SCTEX/TPLEX connection in Tarlac City up to the intersection of Aliaga-Guimba Road in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija this July 2021, declared Secretary Villar. Secretary Villar said that contract packages 1 and 2 covering Tarlac Section and Rio Chico River Bridge Section having a combined length of 10.5 kilometers are already completed while construction of 9.2 kilometers contract package 3 - Aliaga Section is 87 percent finished. Secretary Villar together with Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K. Sadain and Region 3 Director Roseller Tolentino personally checked on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 the project’s progress which already has an overall accomplishment of 94 percent, making sure that the road is built with quality construction materials and specifications. Construction of the ₱11.811 Billion road project funded by loan with Japan International Cooperation Agency is implemented by UPMO-Roads Management Cluster 1 headed by OIC Project Director Benjamin C. Bautista. In his report to Secretary Villar, Undersecretary Sadain said that the delivery of right of way (ROW) requirements are being fast-tracked, with the assistance of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for expropriation complaints and other ROW-related cases. “We are hopeful that we will finally secure full site possession of the remaining required ROW to allow our construction activities to go on full throttle”, added Undersecretary Sadain. Expropriation proceedings with the appropriate court were initiated for properties whose owners were unable to grant the request to donate or accept price offer for negotiated sale within a given timeframe. More available ROW and favorable weather conditions will enable DPWH to catch up and finish the 10.3-kilometer Contract Package 4 - Cabanatuan Section which is now 88 percent completed. Meanwhile, the Zaragoza Interchange Section under Contract Package 5 is at 26 percent which involves construction of 113 meters Zaragoza Interchange Bridge, 4.88 kilometers access road, two (2) pre-stressed concrete deck girder bridge with a total length of 19.4 meters, five (5) reinforced concrete box culverts for equalizer and farm passage, and seven (7) irrigation canals. Once fully completed, the 30-kilometer CLLEX will shorten the usual travel time of 70 minutes between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City to just 20 minutes. This new expressway will also form an important east-west link for the expressway network of Central Luzon to ensure a continuous seamless traffic flow for the motoring public from Metro Manila and vice versa passing thru NLEX, SCTEX/TPLEX.   Article Courtesy of the Department of Public Works and Highways

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 09, 2021

Terminal 2 of Clark International Airport to Open in July

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade led a recent inspection of the New Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) of Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga. The inspection conducted is part of the preparation for the upcoming opening of the new CRK Terminal. With Luzon International Premiere Airport Development (FLIPAD) Corporation President Bi Yong Chungunco, personally circulated by Sec. Tugade inside the new terminal to see construction progress. Secretary Tugade is also with DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, to discuss the layout of the map route alignment for the North-South Commuter Railway Extension (NSCREx) project that will connect to CRK underground station. On July 2021, the new airport terminal for domestic operations is set to be launched, which will be followed by the opening of international operations in September 2021. It's estimated that it will be up to 12.2 million passengers who can service the new terminal will be open and full scale operations, triple the number compared to the current 4.2 million passengers it serves every year (before the pandemic). This project will help a lot in the long term economic growth of the country, tourism growth, especially in providing employment and other opportunities for our countrymen. In fact, more than 1,600 workers have also been given the opportunity to be part of the project in the midst of the pandemic and it is expected that the number of jobs will be increased by the time the new terminal of Clark International Airport project is finished. "You wait and see a real 'world class' terminal. It's coming up, it's coming up in Clark. Thanks to LIPAD, the men and women of Clark International Airport are really very good," galak na pahayag ni Secretary Tugade. DOTr Assistant Secretary for Aviation and Airports Jim Melo, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Chief of Staff and Airport Projects Team Head Atty. Danjun Lucas, and other representatives from FLIPAD Corp.   Article Courtesy of the Department of Transport

Mining

Jimbo Gulle - June 09, 2021

New Policy Sets Mining Exploration Period's Automatic Renew

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is targeting to facilitate the continuity of mining exploration projects in the country, the Philippine News Agency reported June 9. A still-unnumbered and soon-to-be-published DENR Administrative Order (DAO) will provide guidelines for automatic renewal of the exploration period covering such projects and timely declaration of mining project feasibility under various mining tenements, noted Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Mining Tenements Management Division OIC chief Danilo Deleña. He said the DAO will cover all exploration permits and mineral production sharing agreements, financial or technical assistance agreements, and other similar mining tenements under the exploration stage. "That DAO's issuance aims to ensure continuous conduct of exploration activities by all permittees, contractors and other holders of mining tenements,' he said Tuesday during the virtual MGB stakeholders' forum on government mining policies. The existing renewal process is for parties concerned to submit all required documents and pay the renewal fee so MGB can evaluate their applications and approve these if justified, he noted. He said MGB has been studying how to facilitate the process as several mining stakeholders already clamored for this, citing difficulty in complying with renewal requirements. "The DAO answers their clamor," he said. Such DAO will still require mining stakeholders concerned to pay the renewal fee and MGB to review their applications, he added. Unlike the existing renewal process, he said documentary requirements in the DAO are minimal but stakeholders must submit these 60 days before their respective exploration periods expire. "If all's well with their applications, they'll be automatically renewed," he said. According to Deleña, preparations are already underway for the DAO's publication in a newspaper of general circulation and submission to the University of the Philippines Office of the National Administrative Register. "We're hoping to have the DAO published in a few days," he said. MGB said of the Philippines' total land area of 30 million hectares, some nine million hectares have high mineral potential. However, only 2.42 percent of the country's total land area was covered by mining tenements as of May 31, 2020, noted MGB. The country's primary mineral commodities are gold, nickel and nickel products as well as copper, MGB said. Available MGB data showed mining contributed some PHP102.3 billion to the country's gross domestic product last year. National and local taxes, fees, and royalties from mining totaled PHP25.52 billion during the said period, MGB added.

Mining

Philippine Resources - June 09, 2021

Philippine Mining Gives Communities Full Support in Time of Covid-19 – and Beyond

Philex Mining Corp. distributed noche buena packs to PWDs, senior citizens, and front liners the company’s host communities in Barangay Tabaan Norte in Tuba, and Barangay Gumatdang in Itogon, both in Benguet province. After mining firms heeded the government’s call last year to help ease the nation’s burdens from the Covid-19 pandemic, over a million families and hundreds of thousands of front liners nationwide felt the industry’s all-out support in addressing their most pressing needs. From food, medicines, and PPEs in the early months of the lockdown, to healthcare infrastructure, education, and livelihood assistance, host and neighboring communities of mining projects continue to find solace in the industry amidst the lingering contagion. All told, the industry spent over P380 million in 2020 for Covid-19 initiatives from mining companies’ Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds, realigned to buttress the government’s pandemic response. A total of 1.1 million households and nearly 300,000 front liners all over the country benefitted from the effort. The SDMP is a 5-year budgeted plan for development programs in mining communities, which the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has allowed to be realigned during this pandemic. Some companies even complemented their SDMP spending with Corporate Social Responsibility funds to ensure greater positive impact and to reach more beneficiaries. RELIEF, MEDICAL and LOGISTICS SUPPORT According to the MGB, the industry distributed nearly 390,000 relief packs and goods, over 6,000 boxes of medicines, some 1,600 hygiene and medical kits, 11,000 PPEs, 194,000 face masks, 5,000 face shields, 3,000 gallons of alcohol, 2,000 gallons of disinfectant and other cleaning supplies, as well as 4,000 units of other medical supplies. Mining firms also provided isolation units for communities, as well as food and logistics support for medical front liners, checkpoints personnel, rescue personnel and volunteers, Indigenous People (IPs), senior citizens, solo parents, and other vulnerable sectors. In the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino, for instance, almost 19,000 households received medicines, PPEs and food supplies from OceanaGold Phils., Inc., whose Didipio copper-gold project has not been operating since July 2019 as it awaits the renewal of its contract with the government. Also in Nueva Vizcaya, FCF Minerals Corp. provided food supplies to 10,500 households in the towns of Quezon and Kasibu. Filminera Resources Corp. and PhilGold Processing and Refining Corp., for their part, capped their Covid-19 efforts in their host province of Masbate with a Christmas food distribution drive in nearby Albay for some 400 families – about 100 of them IPs – who were among the hardest hit by Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. The companies also donated P5 million to help rebuild damaged houses and distribute relief goods following the 6.6 magnitude earthquake in Masbate. In Benguet, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corp. (LCMC) and Far Southeast Gold Resources, Inc. opened their Casubigan camp to serve as the town’s temporary Covid-19 quarantine facility following the request of town mayor Frenzel Ayong. In addition, the company equipped its Lepanto hospital staff with complete PPEs, isopropyl alcohol, disinfectants, vitamin C, and other medical supplies. With the help of Lepanto weavers, LCMC provided all its 1,600 with face shields and 3-ply face masks. To stem the transmission of the virus, LCMC rolled out mass testing to over a thousand mine employees. Those who were found positive were sent to the company’’s temporary isolation facilities, with free meals for the entire quarantine duration. Also in Benguet, Philex Mining Corp. (PMC) lent support for the purchase of medicines by several barangays and to augment the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP). Aside from the SAP, the company gave cash assistance to families in Barangay Camp 3, Tuba. PMC, via its subsidiary Silangan Mindanao Mining Co. Inc. (SMMCI), likewise allowed the use of Silangan’s stockyard in Barangay Macalaya as temporary isolation facility of Placer town in Surigao del Norte. Cagdianao Mining Corp. (CMC) bankrolled the cost of materials and labor for the “Katre-Karpintero” program of Dinagat Islands Governor Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao who sought to address the need for more beds in the province’s quarantine facilities in the province. “Equipped with sufficient materials,” she said, “150 beds were completed in record time (5 days). Of course this also provided extra income for our (21) carpenters.” The industry likewise supported the establishment of two molecular technology laboratories and a COVID-19 testing center, as well as the procurement of over 17,000 rapid test kits. Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp. (THPAL) partnered with Nickel Asia Corp. and its affiliates CMC and Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) in donating P18 million to the Philippine National Red Cross that, in turn, will build a P28-million molecular testing lab in Caraga. The lab can help boost pandemic response in the region through faster diagnostic results, rapid identification of infected patients, and faster contact tracing to limit the spread of the virus. TMC donated some 5,000 rapid anti-body test kits (RATs) to Surigao del Norte to help detect possible cases of Covid-19 throughout the province. THPAL, on the other hand, provided the Claver town LGU with RATs, antigen test kits, a multicab and motorcycle, and an iChroma II antigen device, which has a higher accuracy rate in detecting Covid-19 than the standard rapid diagnostic equipment. Moreover, THPAL joined the Army 30th Infantry Battalion in providing relief goods to 489 IP families in Gigaquit town. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Villarosa, 30th IB commander, said the effort will help save the IPs from exploitation by rebel groups. Meanwhile, Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC) provided 6,000 RATs and PPEs to the Caraga Regional Hospital, Surigao del Norte Provincial Hospital, Surigao City Health Office, and Claver Rural Health Unit. TVI Resource Development Phils., Inc. (TVIRD) turned over several boxes of PPEs to the Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Hospital, while PMC donated PPEs as well to at least 5 hospitals in Baguio and 3 in Benguet. Face masks, face shields, disposable gloves, isolation suits, and goggles were turned over by PMC to Benguet governor Melchor Diclas and Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong. The same equipment were also distributed to the municipalities of Tuba, Itogon, Sablan, and Tublay for use by front liners. At the PMC corporate office, face masks were distributed to medical front liners at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center through the Alagang Kapatid Foundation Inc. Drums of alcohol were donated to the Philippine National Police – Cordillera Autonomous Region and wash stands were provided for the Benguet provincial government as well as to Barangay Ampucao in Itogon. Food assistance was also given to Barangays Ampucao and Dalupirip in Itogon. Various cash and rice donations were also given to the municipalities of Tuba, Itogon, and Sablan. While SMMCI’s copper and gold project is currently placed on extended pre-mine care and maintenance status, the company still donated PPEs to medical front liners within its host and neighboring communities. It also distributed surgical PPEs to the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City, the Provincial Hospital in Placer, and the Municipal Health Offices of Placer, Tagana-an, and Mainit. To improve the Cagdianao town’s emergency response and speed up relief operations, CMC provided the LGU here an ambulance unit and a service truck. For its part, Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), which has not even extracted minerals in Tampakan, South Cotabato since the company’s inception in the 1990s, turned over a four-wheel drive truck to the LGU for its relief efforts in remote mountainous barangays. LCMC also donated a service vehicle to the Mankayan municipality. Local officials who received the donations for their respective towns said the transport equipment would drastically improve their logistics capabilities. PMC, on the other hand, provided funds for diesel fuel used by barangay emergency vehicles in hauling goods and ferrying medical patients and front liners to and from Baguio. Over in Cebu, Carmen Copper Corp. distributed health kits to 175 journalists from different media outlets in recognition of their contributions to the fight against Covid-19. LIVELIHOOD and FOOD SECURITY Mining projects also distributed some 92,000 sacks of rice to communities all over the country. Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Corp. (CBNC), for instance, donated P30 million worth rice for Palaweños following the call of Palawan Governor Jose Ch. Alvarez for a joint public-private sector effort to address the food security threat posed by the pandemic. PMC, meanwhile distributed sacks of rice to families in Barangays Camp 1, 3, and Ansagan in Tuba, Benguet, as well as in Barangays Ampucao and Dalupirip in Itogon. PGMC allocated P12 million of its P31-million Covid-19 assistance initiatives for the company’s Food Security Project, which aims to provide food on the table and, at the same time, a livelihood source for partner communities. Portions of the workforce that were displaced since the onset of the pandemic compelled the inception of this project, which is jointly funded by PGMC’s SDMP and Annual Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program budgets. Most of the produce from the project’s communal gardening-cum-organic vegetable farming, egg machines, and aquaculture components are bought and consumed within the community; some are bought by PGMC and its employees. The project, implemented in close coordination with the Claver municipal government and the Surigao del Norte Agricultural Office, has been lauded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as “one of a kind”. On the other hand, a bangus farming project sponsored by Hinatuan Mining Corp. – another Nickel Asia Corp. subsidiary based in Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte – yielded more than 1700 kilos of bangus in the project’s first harvest ever. Lilibeth G. Becera, President of the 90-strong United Fisherfolk Association of Bagong Silang said the harvest “is a big achievement for us small fisherfolk because the lockdown has limited our movement in the community and the bangus helped many of us during this quarantine.” Agata Mining Ventures, Inc. (AMVI), a subsidiary of TVRD, distributed more than 5,000 relief packs that included over 11,000 kilograms of organic vegetables from AMVI’s Mabakas Farm School – certified by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – and some of its 1,300 graduates. The recipients included the company’s employees in the its Agusan del Norte mine site and Mamanwa IPs, many of whom are farmers themselves who would have otherwise faced the risk of spoilage of their produce due to quarantine restrictions on transportation. In Carrascal, Surigao del Sur, meanwhile, Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. distributed vegetable seeds to urge residents to start their home garden and grow their own vegetables amid the ongoing health crisis. Dubbed “Gulayan sa Panimalay,” the program is part of the municipality’s food sufficiency strategy, where residents are encouraged to produce fresh and healthy food from their backyard to their tables, save on food expenses during the pandemic, while enjoying a steady supply of fresh produce from their own backyard. A project of the Department of Agriculture, the program also supports local rice farmers through financial assistance, free hauling services and direct purchase of their rice products at a competitive farm gate price. EDUCATION and SKILLS TRAINING SMI helped procure 642 transistor radios for students of Columbio Central Elementary School in Sultan Kudarat as part of the LGU efforts to promote the Department of Education’s distance learning program during this pandemic. Columbio town mayor Edwin Bermudez said the local radio station that SMI also helped establish is now being utilized for distance learning. Barangay Datalblao chair Bai Naila Mamalinta likewise attested that SMI has been providing support not only in the area of education, but also for the health and socio-economic well-being of her Blaan constituents for many years now. Back in Surigao del Norte, Taganito Mining Corp. recently turned over some 7,172 workbooks worth P2 million to the provincial government for the use of public schools in the province. The workbooks were handed over to provincial governor Francisco Matugas. Looking beyond the pandemic, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. and Coral Bay Nickel Corp. are poised to provide residents of Bataraza in the southern part of Palawan the opportunity to shape a brighter future when the company’s P42 million state-of-the-art training center opens after Covid-19. Once fully operational, the center will offer training courses, such as driving, scaffolding, welding, bread and pastry production, among others. The new facility will have audio-visual rooms and dedicated areas for various workshops, and will be equipped with conveyor belts, overhead cranes, vertical structure platforms, and electrical simulators for the training sessions. It will host classes for skills education and job-preparatory training based on the courses that TESDA offers. VACCINE In 2021, mining firms have been allowed again by the MGB to realign their SDMP and Safety and Health Program funds to procure Covid-19 vaccines for critical stakeholders. The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines welcomes the MGB decision as this will help support the vaccination of employees and members of host communities. More significantly, this will provide a big boost to the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program and help hasten the nation’s recovery from this pandemic.   Article Courtesy of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines

Mining

Philippine Resources - June 08, 2021

Mining Firms Set Vaccine Donations to Masbate LGUs

Two Masbate-based companies Filminera Resources Corp. and Phil Gold Processing & Refining Corp., are poised to donate thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the workers of local government units in Masbate province, and will proceed further to vaccinate all Filminera and PhilGold employees. This is the latest of the firm’s set of resolute responses, which had already allocated P38 million wholly for anti-Covid 19 health defenses for their workers and residents of local government units in Masbate province. Earlier this year, Filminera and PhilGold had turned over two sets of CMAC video laryngoscope to the Masbate Provincial Hospital to enable the health facility to enhance the hospital’s success rate in treating patients with severe Covid-19 symptoms, leading to the patient’s recovery. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Luisito Co acknowledged the firm’s community commitments, saying: “The Filminera and Phil Gold medical equipment donations have made the Masbate Hospital the only medical facility in the entire Bicol region that has the CMAC laryngoscope.” A total of P38 million was reallocated from the two firms’ 2020 Social Development and Management Program funds for Covid assistance meant for the province of Masbate, municipality of Aroroy, and selected institutions in the Bicol Region. Of the P38 million total budget, P11.2 million was taken from Filminera’s SDMP funds, while P21.9 million was from PhilGold’s SDMP funds, and P5 million from PhilGold’s CSR funds was allocated to buy the ambulance unit, including the equipment. It will be recalled that an ambulance unit plus more medical equipment were donated to Masbate. At the height of the lockdown last year, the frontliners in the medical field, as well as the police force and municipal risk reduction and management office, received two months worth of food support through the mine site's catering services, PPEs and disinfectant materials A total of 21,320 families in the eight impact barangays and the 33 neighboring barangays in Aroroy received food packs. Weekly supply of food packs were given to those within the impact barangays, and two tranches of food pack distribution were donated to families living in the remaining 33 neighboring barangays. Other municipalities in Masbate province received  800 sacks (containing 50 kilos each sack) of rice to augment their relief food packs distribution. Medical supplies and disinfectants were also given to the Rural Health Unit of Aroroy. Filminera is the holder of the mining tenements and environmental compliance certificate, while PhilGold, wholly owned by Vancouver-based gold producer B2Gold, operates the processing plant.

Commentary

Fernando Penarroyo - June 08, 2021

Renewables Can Make Mining a Sustainable Industry

There is no doubt that public perception of mining is that of a dirty, hazardous, and ecologically-destructive industry. Sustainable mining is non-existent to critics because of the industry’s perceived large carbon footprint brought about by deforestation and large contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. By its very nature, mining is also energy-intensive starting with the development and production processes requiring fuel for heavy equipment and machinery, up to the processing stage where metallurgical plants consume a huge amount of electricity. Energy expenses constitute approximately 30 percent of cash operating costs as majority of mining operations continue to rely on fossil fuel-based grid power or off-grid diesel-generated power. While accounting for up to 11% of global energy consumption, the industry is responsible for 22% of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the pandemic, the mining index has now recovered by an astonishing US$636 billion thanks to a boom in spending brought about by the current green and digital transition, and unprecedented infrastructure-focused stimulus packages initiated by many governments. The Philippines also benefitted from this development. According to a report by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, metallic mineral production value ended 2020 on a positive note with a 1.13% gain from PhP130.74 billion in 2019 to PhP132.21 billion, a PhP1.47 billion increase. As mining operations need a consistent and reliable source of power, and renewables becoming a mainstream energy source, mining companies have a material opportunity to lower costs and improve safety, reliability, and sustainability. The regulatory and risk mitigation landscape is also changing with many governments enacting legislation to bring their economies in accordance with the 21st Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or Paris Agreement goals of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and maintaining planetary warming below 2°C of preindustrial levels. The industry and its investors need to urgently promote less carbon-intensive energy consumption to address future pressures on the climate in order for the public and stakeholders to be more receptive and appreciative of the contributions of mining. This article discusses how mining and innovative renewable energy technologies can combine to achieve the transition to a more sustainable energy system. Attracting Investors’ Appetite Back to the Mining Industry While demand for renewable energy continues to grow, investors’ and lenders’ appetite in mining is shrinking. The sector is facing a market that is smaller, pricier, and subject to an increasing regulatory oversight to help manage its exposure to environmental and social risks. On the other hand, the cost of producing renewable energy has dropped dramatically making it more competitive with fossil fuels with technological innovation and huge investments from China pushing down the its costs. The opportunity lies in companies focusing on clean metal production and investors supporting cleaner and greener minerals extraction. While mining companies see the opportunity, they are in a catch-22 situation. According to an Ernst and Young report, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are getting in the way of the green transition because how the needed minerals are produced is under more scrutiny  from governments, investors and end consumers. Institutional investors have pledged to completely remove fossil fuels from their portfolios by 2030 and banks have priced their loan products in correlation to the environmental risks of the borrower. BloombergNEF confirms the change in investor perspective most notably with the move by BlackRock – the world’s largest asset manager with $7.4tn on its books – to divest from companies not aligned with the policy goals of the low-carbon energy transition. Investors, governments and top companies like Amazon to JPMorgan Chase are injecting billions of dollars into sustainable projects. In addition, corporate directors are required to ensure compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulation and consumers are demanding sustainable business practices, persuading hundreds of major companies to issue net zero emissions commitments. Clients of institutional investors are also pushing fund managers to create sustainability-focused portfolios and banks are requiring more rigorous covenant packages in their loan agreements with extractive industry businesses. Mining companies have no choice but to engage in decarbonization in order to access capital. How Renewable Energy is Transforming the Mining Industry Minerals are critical to the clean, green, and digital transition. The growth of renewable energy is heavily reliant on commodities like copper, gold, lithium, cobalt which are used in the manufacture of new technologies that could one day replace fossil fuels in the global energy mix. Copper supplies, for example, need to increase by as much as six percent (6%) per year to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement. Copper is needed for wind farms, solar panels and electric vehicles, and generally essential to all power generation infrastructure. Solar power, expected by the International Renewable Energy Agency to reach 8,519 GW of capacity worldwide by 2050, relies on the supply of aluminium, copper and certain rare earth elements (including indium and cadmium) to produce photovoltaic (PV) panels. Wind turbines are made from steel and is therefore dependent on the production of iron. Certain rare-earth elements such as neodymium are needed for the magnets used inside turbine generators, as well as electric vehicle (EV) technology. Zinc and titanium are used mostly for wind and geothermal energy. Metals are also used in high tech devices like aircraft engines, rockets, and other military equipment, hence, the label of critical minerals. Driven by the demand for EV batteries and renewable energy infrastructure in battery storage, the need for lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, platinum-group and rare earth elements is primed to explode. The World Bank predicts that production of these minerals could increase nearly five hundred percent (500%) by 2050. For cobalt, lithium, and nickel, projected demand is greater than known reserves. As the demand for renewables continues to grow, the mining industry indeed faces a bright future in becoming a recognized vital contributor to the clean energy transition. With advancements in renewable energy technology and the commitment of some key industry players, there are many benefits for mining companies to switch to renewables. In addition to the financial botomline, renewables also offer important social, health, safety, and environmental benefits that are harder to quantify, which can potentially include: Stability in power price, increased energy security, and reduced reliance on fossil fuels that are vulnerable to global price fluctuations - Solar and wind facilities have high upfront costs to build but input costs drop to near-zero when operational. The cost of battery production is also predicted to halve in the next decade, making large-scale energy storage capable of powering a mine’s operations even in the absence of a consistent supply; Sustainable development support - Satisfaction of environmental and social criteria used to measure the sustainability and green credentials of a given project will be a pre-requisite for off-takers, investors, and lenders. Debt and capital markets will shift towards sustainable and green investments; Lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduced carbon liabilities; Energy efficiency in mine sites by synchronizing peak load with cheaper renewable energy sources, thus bringing down the overall cost of mining operations and maintenance; and Additional revenue from selling excess generation capacity and providing ancillary services to grid operators. RE Projects at Minesites Around the World Realizing the benefits from efficient energy management systems, some miners are now driving down their energy costs by up to 25% in existing operations and 50% in new mines. Renewables, whose levelized costs have achieved parity with traditional fossil fuels, is a major component. These developments in the mining sector are part of a larger, global trend toward greater procurement of renewables by corporations. A report by Fitch Solutions Macro Research revealed that around 1 GW of renewables was already built at mining sites across the world, and that another 1 GW is in the pipeline. Solar PV and wind are leading the way in installed renewables generation among mining companies, with thirty percent (37%) and fifty-nine percent (59%) share in 2017 respectively. By one estimate, investment in renewables just for mining will reach nearly US$4 billion by 2022, which represents more than a tenfold increase from a decade before. Several large mining companies have been integrating renewables at progressively higher ratios, and all four of the world’s biggest miners plan to source more of their energy needs from renewables. Table No. 1. Renewable Energy Projects at Minesites Around the World Mining Company Renewable Energy Project Anglo American Signed a deal to run its Quellaveco copper mine in Peru 100% on renewables, effectively allowing the miner to deliver on its promise of powering all of its Latin American operations by green energy by 2022. The facility is expected to provide 150 MW for an initial eight-year period to Anglo’s Quellaveco, located in the Moquegua region.   Also inked a 15-year contract in Brazil to buy 70 MW of solar power from Atlas Renewable Energy as of 2022 for its iron ore operation in Minas Gerais. Rio Tinto Announced that it would reduce the annual carbon footprint associated with its Kennecott Utah copper mine by as much as 65%, by purchasing renewable energy certificates and permanently shutting its coal power plant. The mine’s electricity needs will now be supplied with 1.5 million megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy certificates supplied by energy company Rocky Mountain Power, primarily sourced from its renewables portfolio in Utah and including wind power from Wyoming.   Supported a 9MW wind farm in the Arctic near its mine.   Added an additional 5MW of solar panels, and advanced battery storage, to an existing solar/diesel microgrid to further decrease diesel use at a bauxite mine. Gold Fields Announced plans to predominantly operate its Agnew gold mine in Western Australia (WA) using renewable energy in partnership with global energy group EDL and involving an AUD112m ($77.59m) investment in an energy microgrid combining wind, solar, gas and battery storage.   In February 2019, Aggreko was contracted to create a hybrid solar-battery generation system to power the Granny Smith mine. The hybrid system will be integrated with the 24.2MW already generated by the natural gas engine station. Antofagasta Signed an agreement in June 2018 with utility company Colbún to make the Zaldívar mine the first Chilean mine to operate with 100% renewable energy. From 2020 the mine will be powered by a mix of hydro, solar and wind power producing 550 gigawatt hours per year, which is expected to remove emissions equivalent to 350,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year. Newmont In September 2018, UK-based solar company Cambridge Energy Partners (CEP) announced that American mining corporation Newmont had deployed CEP’s Nomad mobile solar power array at the Akyem gold mine in Ghana. Zijin In May 2017, UK-based power generation company Aggreko announced that it had signed a ten year deal to provide solar-diesel hybrid power to the Bisha mine in Eritrea owned by Chinese mining group Zijin. Aggreko provides 22MW of diesel and 7.5MW of solar-generated power for the Bisha mine’s copper and zinc operations. Sandfire Resources Added a 10.6MW solar power plant at the DeGrussa mine in Australia. B2Gold Added 7MW of solar panels to its Namibia mine to complement existing heavy fuel oil generators. Caterpillar Began marketing hybrid microgrids that incorporate solar, diesel and natural gas generators, and advanced storage options. Target customers include remote mines and drill sites. While energy management practices using renewables are becoming more prevalent in the sector, some have yet to integrate renewable energy sources and enabling technologies. This may be due to the existing perceptions of renewables in terms of complexity, cost, reliability, and performance. Many miners still think of renewables like solar and wind, as the higher cost option for mines operating both on and off the grid. In addition to cost, reliability is another often-cited reason for not considering renewables. However, these concerns have largely been addressed. When speaking of renewables, there are two facets to reliability. The first relates to the efficacy of the technology itself, while the second relates to intermittency. Intermittency is being addressed and demonstrated to be manageable since the viability of battery storage is now enhanced by new technologies and the cost of utility-scale batteries is starting to decline. Incentivizing RE Technologies Various factors are influencing the optimal electricity generation at mining sites. Some of these are external factors such as sun and wind conditions, grid-availability or grid stability, while some are directly related to the mining company like environmental sustainability policies and availability of capital. Other factors are related to the mining site, among which are the remaining lifetime of the mine, the load-profile or the need of process-heat. Depending on several internal or external factors, a mining company may apply various business models for renewable energy: Plant Ownership Self-consumption (plant ownership). The power plant is constructed on-site and the mine consumes the energy (electricity or process heat). An added option is selling excess electricity to the grid or to adjacent consumers. Co-ownership (joint venture). The mining company and a third-party investor create a joint venture, which then acts similarly as an IPP and sells electricity to the mine. Leasing or rental agreements. The mine has no investment costs, but instead pays a leasing rate, operates the renewable energy plant and consumes or sells excess electricity that is produced from the leased power plant. Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Standard PPA. The mine purchases the electricity at a predefined price from an independent power producer (IPP). The IPP can be off-grid or grid-connected and the PPA may contain flexible mechanisms such as link to diesel price or spot market price. Synthetic PPA. Even if it is not viable for a mine to establish its own renewable energy source in close proximity to its operations, the rise in so-called synthetic or virtual PPAs provides an incentive for mining companies to invest in renewables. The IPP sells at market price and power marketers provide a guaranteed price and compensate for certain deviations. This business model requires a grid-connection and a functioning spot-market. A mine enters into an agreement directly with a renewable energy producer at a fixed price but pays a fee to the utility, via which electricity will pass through to cover the cost of managing the grid. Energy-metal Swap. Basically it is a PPA, but the electricity is paid with mining products, which may eliminate some of the metals market price risk. Hybrid Microgrids. A key advantage of renewable energy is that it can power the energy needs of mining operations in remote areas, where the cost of building the infrastructure required to hook the mine up to the grid network or building a conventional power station will be significant. By having a dedicated off-grid renewable power source, a mining operation can meet all its energy requirements from green sources and make significant cost savings in the price it pays for electricity. Micro-grids involve a combination of power sources, usually diesel or natural gas generators combined with some renewable resources. Several mines have started down this path, integrating wind or solar PV generation with short duration lithium-ion batteries that produces 10-25% of a mine’s total electricity needs. The microgrid continues to be controlled by the diesel gensets with renewables acting as a reduction to the overall mine load. Fortunately, battery technology has advanced rapidly in recent years to keep up with the need to store increasingly large amounts of renewable energy at a lower cost and lesser physical footprint. One of the keys to this relationship is the rapid development of suitable renewable power supplies to both existing and new mining operations. The sooner mining operators adapt their models to accommodate this development, the sooner they will be able to persuade investors, lenders, and off-takers to support them. Miners must soon decide whether to push forward in the direction of renewables or else they risk becoming high-cost producers in their respective commodities as renewables are increasingly becoming factors for competitiveness. Renewables should also be examined as part of a broader social and environmental agenda in addition to their financial proposition as a replacement for existing traditional energy sources. Legacy Mines as RE Sites Mine site conversion can provide ongoing and long term value in the form of an alternative income stream well after mining operations have ceased. Specific benefits can include reusing infrastructure, reduced cleanup and decommissioning costs, re-employment of a skilled mining workforce and/or new local employment opportunities, and a clean after-use for a mine site that can also create a potential source of carbon credits with tradable value. Mine sites may prove to be ideal locations for the generation of renewable energy because they often cover extensive areas where wind and solar power structures will have less environmental impact and are therefore less likely to meet opposition. In addition, mine sites often already have the necessary electricity transmission lines and transport infrastructure in place, avoiding extra capital costs. Other forms of redevelopment may not be an option due to the remoteness of the site, or environmental conditions may rule out residential or commercial use without significant extra development cost. Although interest is increasing, the re-use of mine sites for alternative energy generation remains at a small scale but already in place in some sites.   Table No. 2. Renewable Energy Technologies at Former Mines Sites Technology Former Mine Sites Wind Power In the largest wind farm planned in Virginia, 166 turbines will be sited on over 4000 hectares of land disturbed by coal and hard rock mining activities. 99% of the land remains usable for other activities including farming.   In Scotland, Black Law Wind Farm near Forth covers 1850 hectares of abandoned coal mine land, grazing land and commercial forestry, with 42 wind turbines generating 97 MW, and plans for expansion potentially increasing the total generating capacity to 193 MW.   At the Hazlehead Wind Farm site in West Yorkshire, wind power is now being generated on the site of a former clay quarry spoil tip and landfill site, with three turbines and a proposed installed capacity of 6 MW. Solar Power The Geosol solar plant at Espenhain, Leipzig, constructed on a former lignite mine ash site, generates 5 MW and saves around 3700 tonnes of CO2 every year.   UK’s first large-scale solar PV farm developed by Lightsource Renewable Energy is located on the south-facing site of the former Wheal Jane tin mine near Truro in Cornwall. The solar farm houses 5680 panels with a peak generating capacity of 1437 MWh. If not done responsibly, researchers have found that the mining necessary for producing more metals and creating the required renewable energy infrastructure could exacerbate threats to ecosystems. While they fully support the move away from fossil fuel production as an essential part of the fight against climate change, alternative energy production must not happen at the expense of biodiversity, rainforests, and the livelihoods of indigenous peoples. In response to increasing corporate demand for clean energy, industry associations and coalitions have sprung up to make it easier for mining companies to enter into power PPAs with developers and utilities, or to self-generate their own electricity. There’s an optimal point in any proposed mining project where a decision needs to be made to integrate renewables, or else the mine life will expire before the full benefits of renewables can be realized. Conclusion If the mining and renewable energy industries pursue a strong symbiotic relationship, both will benefit in cost savings, reduced emissions and more importantly, preserving their social license to operate. This will be a very long transformation process but with new technologies in commercial development especially in battery storage, the mining industry has an incredible opportunity to drastically curb climate change impacts in its operations. Investors and lenders will also need to be part of the solution by revisiting the mining industry as an investment opportunity. They have to work with mining companies to implement ESG improvements and transition to sustainability. Instead of dismissing these efforts as industry “greenwashing”, critics and skeptics must exercise open mindedness in giving a chance to mining that, whilst historically perceived as dirty, is essential for the global aspiration of a clean and green energy transition.   Fernando “Ronnie” S. Penarroyo specializes in Energy and Resources Law, Project Finance and Business Development. He may be contacted at fspenarroyo@penpalaw.com for any matters or inquiries in relation to the Philippine resources industry. Atty. Penarroyo’s commentaries are also archived at his professional blogsite at www.penarroyo.com References Ali, Umar, Going green: renewable energy projects at mines around the world, Mining Technology, April 15, 2021, https://www.mining-technology.com/features/going-green-renewable-energy-projects-at-mines-around-the-world/ Better fit for mining and renewable energy, THEnergy, 2020, https://www.th-energy.net/english/platform-renewable-energy-and-mining/business-models/ Cormack, David and Wood, Michael, Renewables in Mining: Rethink, Reconsider, Replay, Deloitte, 2017, https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Energy-and-Resources/gx-renewables-in-mining-final-report-for-web.pdf Fawthrop, Andrew, Why the mining industry must continue to embrace renewable energy, NS Energy, 20 March 2020, https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/features/renewable-energy-mining-bnef/#:~:text=Financial%20incentives%20for%20mining%20industry%20to%20embrace%20renewable%20energy&text=%E2%80%9CThis%20means%20miners%20can%20negotiate,the%20volatility%20of%20energy%20markets. Gracey, Kyle, How can renewable energy technologies support mining and drilling?, Prescouter, October 2017, https://www.prescouter.com/2017/10/renewable-energy-mining-drilling/ Jamasmie, Cecilia,  Anglo American to run South America mines 100% on renewables, MINING.COM. April 15, 2021 https://www.mining.com/anglo-to-run-south-america-mines-100-on-renewables/#:~:text=Anglo%20American%20(LON%3AAAL),by%20green%20energy%20by%202022. Kostigen, Thomas M., The might of metals in the clean energy transition, GreenBiz, 10 February 2021, https://www.greenbiz.com/article/might-metals-clean-energy-transition#:~:text=Here's%20why%3A%20Minerals%20are%20critical,in%20the%20Paris%20Climate%20Agreement. Maisch, Marija, Mining sector to rely increasingly on renewables, report finds, PV Magazine,11 September 2018, https://www.pv-magazine.com/2018/09/11/mining-sector-to-rely-increasingly-on-renewables-report-finds/ Mining & Renewable Energy – A Greener Way Forward, Watson, Farley, and Williams, 23 November 2020, https://www.wfw.com/articles/mining-renewable-energy-a-greener-way-forward/ Sonter, Laura, Watson, James and Valenta, Richard, Renewable energy can save the natural world – but if we’re not careful, it will also hurt it, The Conversation, 02 September 2020, https://theconversation.com/renewable-energy-can-save-the-natural-world-but-if-were-not-careful-it-will-also-hurt-it-145166 Thomas, Tobi, Mining needed for renewable energy 'could harm biodiversity’, The Guardian, 01 September 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/01/mining-needed-for-renewable-energy-could-harm-biodiversity#:~:text=The%20mining%20necessary%20for%20producing,to%20biodiversity%2C%20researchers%20have%20found.&text=The%20scientists%20found%20mining%20potentially,used%20in%20renewable%20energy%20production Whitbread-Abrutat, Peter and Coppin, Nick, Wardell Armstrong International, Renewables Revive Abandoned Mines, Renewable Energy World, 13 April 2021, https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/baseload/renewables-revive-abandoned-mines/#gref Zuliani, Jocelyn and Guilbaus, Joel, Renewable energy in mining: A practical application for active operations, Canadian Mining Journal, 01August 2020, http://www.canadianminingjournal.com/features/renewable-energy-in-mining-a-practical-application-for-active-operations/

Mining

Jimbo Gulle - June 08, 2021

Gov’t Updates List of Mining Assets Ahead of Disposal

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is updating the mineral resources and mineral reserves database on state-owned mining assets in preparation for their sale. About P21 billion in revenue can be generated by 100 mining projects in the pipeline, which can be used to help support economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the MGB said in a BusinessWorld report. Updating the list of state-owned mining assets for sale will support government revenue, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said. “This is in preparation for the bidding and sale of mining assets to gain revenue and help the country recover from the economic devastation of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” Cimatu said. MGB Director Wilfredo G. Moncano said some assets under the Privatization and Management Office (PMO) of the Finance Department have sufficient data and can be put up for auction soon. According to the MGB chief, the PMO and the Philippine Mining Development Corp. are responsible for the sale of the government-owned mining assets via auction. PMO mining assets include Pacific Nickel Philippines, Inc. in Surigao del Norte; North Davao Mining Property in Davao del Norte; Maricalum Mining Corp. in Negros Occidental; and Marcopper Mining Corp. in Marinduque. President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order No. 130 on April 14, which removed the nine-year ban on new mineral agreements and allowed the review of current mining deals for potential renegotiation. MGB Director Wilfredo G. Moncano said some of the information required for a possible sale is the volume of mineral resources and reserves, and the technical basis for the estimates. “A mineral resource refers to the concentration of materials of economic interest found in the Earth’s crust, while a mineral reserve is the economically mineable portion of a mineral resource,” Moncano said in a statement. He identified Basay Mining Corp. in Negros Oriental, which ceased operations in 1983, and the Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corp. in Samar, which was foreclosed by the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine National Bank in 1984, as some of the idle government mining assets to undergo the review.

Mining

Jimbo Gulle - June 08, 2021

Solon: PH Coastline Receding Due to Chinese Mining Black Sand

Black sand mining has been “massive” along the Luzon coastline with Chinese miners extracting the mineral with heavy equipment and shipping them out in barges, Probinsyano Ako party-list Rep. Jose “Bonito” Singson Jr. said during a House committee hearing last week. The situation warrants the imposition of a ban against exporting black sand ore, or magnetite, an ore of iron used in steel production, the lawmaker from the Singson clan of the Ilocos region said in a CNN Philippines report. Singson authored House Bill No. 6321, which seeks to prohibit the exportation of black sand and its derivatives in its raw form to other countries. “[Chinese miners] would bring their barge and then they would use massive machinery to extract the black sand from our shoreline,” Singson told the House Committee on Natural Resources in a CNN Philippines report. Ronald Recidoro, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines executive director who attended the virtual hearing, shared a similar observation. “It appears the contractor is helping by dredging the river, but why does the contractor cart out black sand? When you dredge, you just put it aside,” he said in a separate interview. Recidoro added that the regulatory regime for magnetite black sand really needs to be reviewed, since the national government currently has no oversight function on this. Black sand mining should be covered by national policy, such that the national government should keep watch over black sand miners whose operations span as far as Cagayan province, which is prone to massive flooding, both Singson and the Chamber of Mines said. Raw black sand should first be processed locally to create a domestic industry that generates jobs, they added. “We have steel manufacturing plants in Iligan that use only recycled steel/iron and imported iron as raw materials,” Recidoro said. Industry data show black sand mining exists in the Ilocos Region, including Cagayan province, as well as in Leyte. The Ilocos Region faces the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea that China increasingly has been trying to militarize. China’s huge appetite for steel has brought it closer to Philippine shores, which Singson said is a red flag as Luzon’s coastlines are receding.

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Mining

Jimbo Gulle - June 08, 2021

Benguet Corp. reports P518-m net profit in Q1

Benguet Corp. reported on June 2 that its net income jumped over nine times in the first quarter from a year ago. The listed miner is riding high on the momentum of "exceptional operating performance" in 2020 after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources lifted the suspension of its nickel operation in Zambales province. Benguet said it registered consolidated net income of P518.6 million in the first quarter of 2021, up from P56.7-million net income in the same period last year. The company said consolidated revenue also grew by more than three times in the three-month period from a year earlier. “The 915-percent increase in after-tax income was the result of combined earnings from its gold, nickel and lime projects which accounted for total consolidated revenue of P1.3 billion in the first quarter of this year or over three times of last year’s revenue of P408 million,” the company said in a statement. While cost and operating expenses unavoidably went up by 68 percent year-on-year to P571.1 million on higher corresponding production, Benguet said selling expenses and payment of excise taxes and royalty fees to the government, prudent cost management, substantial nickel export, and improved gold production volumes supported the big positive variance. “Amidst the pandemic, the company is steadily pursuing a growth strategy as it continues to implement precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of its employees, contractors and the host communities,” Benguet Corp. said.

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 04, 2021

DPWH Prepares for Independence Day Opening of Sta Monica-Lawton Bridge

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will soon open a new road network passing business and industrial hubs of Pasig City, Makati City and Taguig City in a bid to ease decades-old EDSA travel woes. Secretary Mark Villar said that access ramps of the Sta. Monica-Lawton Bridge, a major component of the Bonifacio Global City - Ortigas Center Road Link Project, are already completed. With the completion of both up-ramp and down-ramp near Kalayaan Avenue, we will be able to achieved the target partial opening by June 12 of the four-lane two-way Sta. Monica-Lawton Bridge, added Secretary Villar. Secretary Villar together with Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K. Sadain inspected on Thursday, May 6, 2021 the BGC - Ortigas Center Road Link Project which will soon be an alternate corridor from EDSA and C-5 along the section of Guadalupe Bridge and Bagong Ilog Bridge, allowing more economic opportunities. In his report to Secretary Villar, Undersecretary Sadain said that once the punch listing activities are done, the asphalt overlay of bridge deck surface, the up and down ramps, and abutment 1 will commence by last week of May 2021 in time for the Independence Day partial opening of this high-impact infrastructure project which is part of EDSA Decongestion Master Plan. The asphalt concrete overlays will protect the bridge and road pavement from water permeation, flexural fatigue, rutting and shoving, added Undersecretary Sadain. Implemented by UPMO Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) headed by OIC-Project Director Benjamin Bautista and supervised by Project Manager Ricarte Mañalac, the BGC - Ortigas Center Road Link Project is targetted for full completion by September. The cantilever box girder bridge is already fully completed with sidewalk, parapet, double arms street light and drainage pipe, with some actitivities for the median barrier. Improvement thru widening of the connecting roads from the start of the project to Pier 5 at Pasig City side particularly the 228 meters Brixton Street and 248 meters Fairlane Street were also undertaken while finishing touches is on-going at the 159 meters abutment 1 particularly on its drainage and manholes, median, sidewalk and parapet. Meanwhile, all the 76 pieces of pre-stressed concrete girder for the Lawton to Kalayaan or Section 3 viaduct from Pier 9 to 18 are completed and with deck slab laid with steel for portland cement concrete pouring. Launching of three out of four bored piles for Section 4 - Pier 19 to end of project along 8th Avenue of BGC were completed with continuous fabrication and installation of reinforcements of pre-stressed girder.

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 04, 2021

Tunneling Works for Davao City Bypass Road to Start by July

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is about to roll out the construction of two (2) 2.3 kilometer tunnel which corresponds to the central portion of the Davao City Bypass Construction Project in Southern Mindanao financed by Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the Government of Japan thru Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Secretary Mark Villar said that essential machinery have started to arrive in the Philippines for the road tunnel construction which is expected to develop Filipino skilled workers with new technical know-how. In his report to Secretary Villar, Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K. Sadain said that tunneling works using specialized equipment such as drill jumbo, concrete spraying machine, and articulated dump hauler is targetted to commence by first week of July 2021. Four (4) units of drill jumbo and four (4) units of concrete spraying machine will simultaneously work at the north and south portal to complete two (2) 2.3 kilometer-long tunnels with a height of 8 meters and a width of 10 meters through the new Austrian tunneling method or sprayed concrete lining method, added Undersecretary Sadain. The tunnel is part of Contract Package 1-1 covering 10.7 kilometer of four (4) lane highway awarded in the amount of P13.230 Billion to the joint venture companies of Shimizu Corporation, Ulticon Builders Inc., and Takenaka Civil Engineering & Construction Co, Ltd.. The contract package with 37 months duration also covers the construction of bridges in three (3) locations and a 7.9 kilometer long cut and fill road. During the recent project coordination meeting with Undersecretary Sadain and UPMO Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) OIC Project Director Benjamin Bautista, Mr. Shinichi Matsumoto representing the joint venture firm said that the construction of access roads are already at 60 percent in preparation for the tunnel excavation. Secretary Villar said that despite the major challenges encountered relative to the Covid-19 pandemic, Davao City Bypass Construction Project has secured Japan ODA financing with a Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) Loan from JICA under Loan Agreement Nos. PH-P261 and PH-P273 signed in June 2020. The entire bypass road with a total length of 45.5 kilometer is divided into six (6) packages: package I-1 (10.7 km), package I-2 (12.8 km), package I-3 (6.1 km), package II-1 (2.7 km), package II-2 (3.5 km), and package II-3 (9.7 km). Starting from Davao-Digos section of the Pan-Philippine Highway in Brgy Sirawan, Davao City going to Davao-Panabo section of the Pan-Philippine Highway in Brgy J.P. Laurel, Panabo City, the bypass road project will mitigate congestions in Davao City with the travel time of 1 hour and 44 minutes via Pan-Philippine Highway Diversion Road to be reduced into 49 minutes.

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