Place your Ad Here!
Mining Groups Applaud Lifting of Ban
by Philippine Resources - April 18, 2021
The Philippine Chamber of Mines applauded the lifting of the nine-year ban on new mining ventures.
“A major roadblock to the huge potential of the Philippine mining industry to contribute to socio-economic growth has been removed,” COMP said in a statement.
“We welcome the lifting of the moratorium on new mining projects – in place for nearly nine years – in this time of great national difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the miner's group said.
The government "may enter into new mineral agreements, subject to comply with the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations," according to President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order 130.
The order lifted Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III 2012 ,'s ban on new mining ventures.
“Mining projects that will be allowed to operate following this development will provide additional government revenues in the form of taxes and fees, royalty fees, and increase in export value, as well as employment opportunities for thousands of Filipinos, especially those in rural areas,” COMP said.
“The industry’s positive impact on host communities can be clearly seen in regions around the country where mining has been allowed to flourish, such as in Caraga and MIMAROPA,” it added.
Duterte said in his EO that the Philippines has only used about 5% of its natural resources endowment.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is charged to "formulate the terms and conditions in the new mineral agreements that will maximize government revenues and share from production, including the possibility of declaring these areas as mineral reservations to obtain appropriate royalties, in accordance with existing laws, rules, and regulations."
Similarly, the President's Executive Order directed the DENR to review current mining contracts and settlements in order to renegotiate the terms and conditions.
The DENR and the Department of Finance, on the other hand, will take steps to streamline current revenue-sharing programs and processes.
The elimination of the "policy roadblock," according to COMP, would certainly help attract both local and international investments into the country.
“Since 2010, investor interest in the Philippines has declined. Executive Order 130 will help bring the Philippines back on the investment map,” it said.
New mining agreements, according to EO 130, will stimulate economic development, which is required to fund government programs like Build, Build, Build and the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Scheme.
The government hopes that lifting the ban would result in more job opportunities in remote rural areas where mining is taking place, "thereby stimulating countryside growth."
“We believe that adequate social and environmental laws, rules, and regulations are already in place to mitigate the impact of mining on communities and the environment. Despite this, the members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines have voluntarily adopted the Towards Sustainable Mining program, a global social and environmental performance standard that compels us to operate beyond mere compliance,” COMP said.
“We have also subscribed to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to further demonstrate our commitment to the highest standards of transparency and accountability in business,” it said.
DENR completed a comprehensive analysis of the mining industry's regulatory system and "has [put] in place new laws, legislation, and strategies providing for and reinforcing environmental protections to ensure that mining activities observe environmental security," according to EO 130.
EO 130 also permits DENR to continue issuing Exploration Permits under existing laws, rules, and guidelines.
Following the acceptance of the declaration of mining project feasibility, the beneficiaries of such exploration licenses will have rights under the said regulations, regulations, and guidelines over the permitted exploration area and will be given the right of first choice to cultivate and exploit the minerals in their respective exploration area.
Meanwhile the lifting of the moratorium on new mining deals, according to Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), acknowledges the mining industry's role in economic recovery and expansion.
“PNIA has always maintained the industry’s contribution to countryside development by providing employment opportunities and livelihood, and ensuring the sustainability of our host communities,” it said in a separate statement.
Both parties stated that they would aim to adhere to the highest environmental and social criteria in order to reduce the environmental and social effects of mining on the host communities.
Philippine Resources - April 19, 2021
Province Representative Applauds Lifting of Mining Ban
Representative Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte applauded President Duterte's decision to lift the ban on new mining deals on Friday, April 16. The President's announcement was the thing he had been hoping for since last year, Barbers said, with the nation submerged in trillions of pesos of debt due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. “I have been hoping for this since last year. I have been saying that mining is the only way out of this debt trap we have found ourselves in by reason of the pandemic. Mining pays, and it will help us pay our debts. The royalties, revenues, taxes will all contribute to our economic recovery,” said the lawmaker. “There is no other industry aside from our BPO (business process outsourcing) and OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) that can bring much revenue. Sadly, these two have been on the losing end since the pandemic began,’’ he pointed out. He further said: “We should start thinking global – by tapping the industries in the country with which we have a competitive advantage on such as mining and tourism. It is now high time to tap on foreign mining investors that have espoused balanced and non-destructive practices in extracting mineral resources.” “As people need vaccines, our economy needs it too, and mining it is,’’ Barbers said. The congressman, furthermore, said that the government “should be very careful in getting investors and vet them properly and thoroughly so we don’t end up with ‘hawshao’ miners in our desire for revenues.” “We must look into their financial capacity, viability, and track record. The DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) should scrutinize them and come up with a non-sense standard patterned after the best practices in the world,” he added. Foreign mining firms have been eager to invest and participate in the Philippines' mining industry, according to Barbers. ‘’If these undertakings push through, the projections are mining will contribute as much as six to 10 per cent in our GDP. Currently, its contribution is 0.6 per cent,’’ he said. “Prominent mining countries such as Canada and Australia have mining contributing six per cent to their GDP. With Australia’s GDP at $.37 trillion, this translates to $82 billion, almost 38 times the value of our mining output. If we indeed believe that our resources are among the best in the world, then the solution is obvious,’’ he noted. According to Barbers, the President's announcement is timely because the sector will provide opportunities in remote areas. ‘’Imagine the number of jobs that will be created in the rural areas where these mining sites are located. The locals will be gainfully employed and the host communities will be developed as part of the corporate social responsibility of these companies. Schools, roads, and other infrastructure will be built on the host communities,’’ he stressed. ‘’This is the much-needed stimulus that is not based on loans that the people will eventually shoulder. It is the only industry that can put our economy back on its feet,” he claimed. “Today, the price of gold is very high at around US$ 1,700 per ounce. We have plenty of gold, estimated at 16 to 18 million ounces. In the coming years, it is projected that 50% of car sales will be on electric cars. These cars need a lot of copper and nickel to run. We have all these minerals here, more than two billion tons of copper and nickel. Imagine the returns if we are to start now,” Barbers explained.
Place your Ad Here!
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
DPWH says BGC-Ortigas Bridge to Open in June
The Bonifacio Global City (BGC)-Ortigas Bridge will open on June 12, said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). “Our target opening is on June 12, Independence Day. Motorists will be able to use the bridge next month,” DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said in a video posted on Facebook during his inspection of the project on Thursday. The bridge would connect the business districts of BGC and Ortigas, cutting travel time from an hour to just 12 minutes. He also said that the bridge is now 81% complete. "The entrance of the bridge is at Kalayaan (Avenue) and the exit is at Fairlane in Ortigas," he added. It will be able to accommodate about 50,000 cars a day when it is finished. “Next month on Independence Day, watch out for the delivery, the opening of the BGC-Ortigas Pasig Bridge,” Villar said. The government's PHP1.793 billion development programme is part of a plan to decongest Epifanio de Los Santos Avenue (EDSA).
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
DENR Applauds Women's Contributions to PH Mining
Women have made a major contribution to the growth and advancement of the country's mining industry, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, with more women leaders advancing to top-level roles. “We need the active participation of women in policy formulation and program development not only to advance their rights in terms of decision-making and leadership but to empower them to address environmental challenges and climate change,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said. According to Nonita Caguioa, DENR Assistant Secretary for Finance, Information Systems, and Mining Concerns, more women are now working in the mining industry, as shown by the increase in female workers in mining firms and at the DENR's Mines and Geosciences Bureau. “We have different mining companies in the nickel industry who already have women, senior officials. Not only in nickel mining, but we can also see now plenty of women in the mining industry in general,” she said. “There are even those who have just finished college in geology, metallurgy or mining engineering, some of whom are already employed with some of the mining companies or the government service,” Caguioa added. With more women working in the mining industry, she cited laws like Republic Act 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women of 2009, RA 7877, or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, and RA 7192, or the Women in Development and Nation Building Act of 1992, that promote and protect their rights. According to Caguioa, the DENR has non-discrimination clauses in mining licenses and arrangements to “respect the right of women workers to engage in policy and decision-making procedures that concern their interests and benefits.” Caguioa earned a mining engineering degree from the Cebu Institute of Technology before entering the DENR.
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
Semirara Mining Expects Profit Recovery This Year
Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC), a publicly traded integrated energy firm, expect some profit recovery this year, owing to improved coal and power demand and costs. SMPC chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji said at the company's virtual stockholders' meeting that the company's bottom line will boost as the coal and energy markets rebound from last year's historic lows. “To take advantage of the upswing, we will capitalize on our COVID-19 resiliency and adaptation strategy of focusing on our people, finances, and execution skills. However, given our operational headwinds and until our country reaches herd immunity, it is unlikely that we will return to our pre-pandemic profit level this year,” he said. The business ended in 2020 with a combined net income of P3.3 billion, down 66% from P9.6 billion the previous year. Revenues dropped 36.2 per cent to P23.3 billion as coal production, sales, and prices fell, while energy sales fell due to low power rates and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp's (SLPGC) expected and unplanned outages. The coal division of SMPC and the SLPGC plants will be the key drivers of development this year. With remedial steps introduced in Molave North Block 7 (NB7), the coal industry is expected to reach 13 million metric tons, according to SMPC president and COO Maria Cristina Gotianun. “This year, we expect our coal business to perform better on the back of recovering consumption and prices. The remedial measures we have been implementing since December have also allowed us to steadily normalize production. Now that the water seepage at NB7 has gone down to manageable levels, we expect annual production to hit 13 million metric tons,” she said. Due to excessive water seepages, SMPC postponed mining operations in Molave NB7 in early December, reducing coal output by 13% to 13.2 million metric tons. SLPGC is expected to drive profits in SMPC's power market due to higher sales, but Sem-Calaca Power Corp. (SCPC) is expected to produce poor performance. SCPC is the owner of the Calaca coal-fired power plant in Batangas, which it bought from the government in 2009 for $362 million. In the same location, SLPGC operates a 2x150-MW coal power plant. “For this year, we expect uneven results from our power subsidiaries. SLPGC is set to stage a strong profit recovery because of higher plant availability and better spot market prices. Unfortunately, SCPC is likely to deliver disappointing results because of the forced outage of its Unit 2 beginning Dec. 3 last year,” Gotianun said. SCPC's outage was triggered by a seven-month-old generator stator failing. Repairs are currently being negotiated with generator provider GE, according to Gotianun. “While they have agreed to cover the majority of the costs related to fixing the equipment, we are intent on making them shoulder all the necessary expenses. We expect to complete our negotiations within the year,” she said. “In the meantime, we are doing our best to fast track the repair of the generator. If all goes well, Unit 2 can be up and running by the third quarter of this year,” Gotianun said. This year, SMPC will invest P4 billion to rebound from last year's slump. The overall sum will be divided between SCPC and SLPGC for their prevention and repair services, with P2.9 billion going to buy mining and service equipment for the coal industry. Since the COVID-19 pandemic placed a burden on the company's liquidity last year, the management agreed to delay P3.7 billion of CAPEX to this year as part of its cash saving steps.