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Mining Industry Anticipates Receiving a ‘Passing Score' on the EITI's Transparency Validation.
by Philippine Resources - April 12, 2021
The Philippines' Chamber of Mines (COMP) expressed hope in completing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) validation process, which began on April 1, 2021.
The validation is an evaluation of adopting countries' willingness to follow EITI requirements, and it is the second to be completed since 2017.
The countries will be graded on three aspects of the validation process: 1) stakeholder engagement—involvement of all government, business, and civil society stakeholders 2) transparency—requirements for accountability, such as a beneficial ownership registry; and 3) results and impact—addressing national interests in natural resource governance.
The EITI Board is scheduled to report the final outcome of the validation in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The Philippines was found to have made "satisfactory progress" in the first validation in 2017, making it the first EITI adopting country to reach such status, according to COMP. The industry remains committed to the EITI benchmark, with 95 per cent of active mines filing their accounts, according to COMP Executive Director Ronald Recidoro.
“The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines looks forward to the validation. We hope to still be at the forefront of this transparency initiative just as we were in 2017 under the old standard,” he said.
COMP member-companies, at the very least, had been doing disclosure monitoring on their own, according to Recidoro, even before it became mandatory.
“We have done a lot to move transparency reporting in the Philippines, including reporting on gender, environmental protection, etc., which is only now being made mandatory under the new standard,” he said.
The validation, according to Bantay Kita, a civil society delegate to the Philippine EITI Multi-Stakeholder Community (PH-EITI MSG), is an opportunity to address problems in adopting the EITI and how it can be more applicable at both the national and sub-national levels.
“Over the past months, the PH-EITI MSG has been working to gather all evidence to show progress in the Philippines. All stakeholders, not only civil society, have contributed to communicating EITI data and initiated outreach activities from local communities to policy-makers,” Vincent Lazatin, national coordinator of Bantay Kita, said in a news statement.
“Stakeholders involved in the validation process would be honest and able to articulate what really is happening on the ground with the transparency initiative of extractive industries in our country. Beyond aiming to be on top, the one of greater value is knowing the real score, the PH-EITI’s actual situation, and how we can perform better,” said Aniceta Baltar, a civil society representative to the PH-EITI MSG.
“The validation looks at how it continues to execute its mandate, and at what level it does. It also gauges what positive impacts the initiative were able to bring across to its constituents and stakeholders,” she added.
When pressed for more details, Recidoro stated that COMP, as a founding member of the PH-EITI, is committed to continuing to participate in the validation process.
According to him, the 2019 EITI validation standard includes additional provisions such as documentation on gender and environmental spending, as well as the contentious question of beneficial ownership (BO).
“The PH-EITI has been reporting on gender and environmental expenditure since 2012, so we are ahead of the curve in that regard. We piloted beneficial ownership reporting last year,” Recidoro said.
However, he said, “BO reporting will still need some work.”
“We need SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] to take the lead on this so that it doesn’t become redundant,” he said.
“There are also concerns about data privacy,” Recidoro added.
He clarified that the EITI requires businesses to report ownership information, but that this is already being done with the SEC.
When it comes to BO news, Recidoro believes the SEC needs to establish a consistent policy or set of guidelines.
“Beneficial ownership disclosure is already part of the annual general information sheet [GIS], but the issue now is publication. SEC does not make that beneficial ownership disclosure public because of data privacy concerns,” he explained.
The GIS is an annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in which businesses report on their specific corporate details and shareholders, among other things.
Every year, businesses must send a different GIS form containing their organizational results, according to Recidoro.
“Since last year, that GIS now has a beneficial ownership report portion. The GIS is available for download with the SEC, but the BO portion is redacted. Because of data privacy concerns,” he said.
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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.
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
Australian Mining Firms Show Interest in the Philippines
According to Australia's Ambassador to the Philippines, Steven Robinson, several Australian mining firms have shown interest in mining in the Philippines, and the recent lifting of a nine-year ban on new mining ventures has paved the way for the possibility of responsible and world-class mining. Robinson said that mining if conducted safely and in accordance with international standards, could help the Philippines recover from the effects of the pandemic's economic impact. “The miners that we already have here—Orica [Philippines], OceanaGold, Red 5 [group], a number of them—are already thinking about what the future holds for them as a result of that ban being lifted,” he said in a virtual briefing on Monday. “They have started to reach out to us just in recent times to express interest in mining across the Philippines. I think that is a very positive step for the Philippines and good for Australian miners here,” he added, when asked to comment on the lifting of the ban. Malacanang recently released Executive Order No. 130, effectively lifting the nine-year ban on new mining deals. The order reversed a clause of then-President Benigno Aquino III's Executive Order No. 79, which was issued in 2012. The EO included a clause prohibiting the issuance of new mining licenses or mining output sharing arrangements unless a new revenue-sharing scheme was established. President Rodrigo Duterte said that the mining tax scheme included in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act had already met the EO's requirements. The TRAIN Act increased the excise on minerals, mining goods, and quarry services from 2% to 4%, lowering personal income taxes while increasing consumption taxes. Duterte previously stated that the country had only used about 5% of its natural wealth. According to the Australian ambassador, this demonstrated that there was something that could be achieved in the world to assist in its economic recovery. “The Philippines is a natural resource-rich country, and there’s much that could be done here that will really benefit the Philippines’ recovery, and Australian firms know that,” Robinson said.
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
AC Energy Focuses on 12GW of Renewable Energy Projects
AC Energy (ACEN) is operating on approximately 12 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy (RE) projects, more than double its goal of five GW for 2025, as it strives to become Southeast Asia's largest listed RE network. At COL Financial's briefing, ACEN President and CEO Eric Francia said the 12GW of projects placed the Ayala-led company in a fantastic position to achieve its long-term goals. Solar and wind platforms will make up the majority of the projects it plans to begin in 2021. With 5,200 megawatts (MW), Australia leads the way, followed by the Philippines with 3,400MW, Vietnam with 2,400MW, and India and other Asia-Pacific countries with 900MW. 1,000MW of the 12GW projects in the pipeline are expected to reach financial close in the next six to twelve months, bringing the company more than halfway to its target. By the end of the year, ACEN hopes to obtain regulatory clearance for the influx of foreign funds. The Ayala Group's power arm is maintaining a follow-on offering (FOO) until Friday, with shares priced at Php6.50 per share. “We are grateful for the continued support of our regulators and for the overwhelming response we received from the institutional investors during the book-building process. The exceptional investor support reinforces AC Energy’s position as the region’s leading renewables platform,” Francia said in a statement disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange. The FOO is part of a five-step effort by the company to generate Php30 billion for clean energy programs this year. “The FOO completes the company’s successful fundraising efforts this year and allows it to play a meaningful role in the green-led recovery,” Francia added.