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PH Nickel Industry Association on Women in Mining
by Marcelle P. Villegas - July 03, 2021
[Photo credit: Philippine Nickel Industry Association]
When we think of mining, one might hardly imagine women who are operating heavy equipment in a mine site. It is a male-dominated industry basically. Even the word “engineer” has a masculine affinity with it. But our modern times has brought to our awareness that women also have a place in the mining industry as engineers, planners, and other important roles.
Perhaps the iconic Hollywood movie star from the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe, was thinking ahead of her time when she said, “I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.” Her words reflect women empowerment which is not only about the entertainment and fashion industry, but rather, in any career path that a woman chooses to pursue.
Although Women’s Month in March is over, the role of women in the mining industry is a daily reality that needs more awareness, sensitivity and acceptance.
Last 30 April 2021, Philippine Nickel Industry Association presented their third episode of the Nickel Initiative Talks and Webinars Series with the title “Promoting Sustainable Development by Advancing the Role of Women in Mining”.
“It is a program that seeks to promote dialogue and learning among nickel development players, stakeholders and experts through the sharing of information, insights and best practices. Through this forum, we hope to promote informed discussion on industry initiatives and enhance cooperation and collaboration between the industry and its stakeholders,” according to PNIA’s announcement.
“Within the mining industry, the role of women continues to gain traction in international discussions consistent with the industry’s support to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and promoting gender inclusion policies of nations. We now see more and more women actively participating in the advancement of the mining sector from the mining fields to the boardroom.”
“This webinar will look into the participation of women in mining, particularly in the nickel development sector, and how the industry and stakeholders can collectively work towards increasing women’s participation and inclusion in mining.”
The speakers in the webinar include:
- Engineer Nonita S. Caguioa, Assistant Secretary for Finance, Information Systems and Mining Concerns, DENR
- Ms. Maya Muchlis, Executive Director of Women in Mining & Energy Indonesia
- Zara Grace C. Lugo, President, Kelly Construction and Supply Corporation
- Rofely “Pia” M. Saldajeno, Hydraulic Excavator Operator at Berong Nickel Corporation
- Deborah Agas Arquio, Officer-in-Charge, Community Relations Department at Berong Nickel Corporation
The webinar was hosted by Charmaine Olea-Capili, Executive Director, Philipine Nickel Industry Association. Her guest speakers for the webinar are mostly outstanding women in their field with inspiring stories about their struggles and triumphs in their careers in mining while being a mother or wife as well.
Engineer Nonita S. Caguioa is the Assistant Secretary for Finance, Information Systems and Mining Concerns at Department of Environment and Natural Resources. ASec Caguioa is a mining engineer by profession. She graduated from Cebu Institute of Technology – University. ASec Caguioa has been with DENR for more than three decades since she joined in 1990. Since then, she has held various positions in the national and regional offices of DENR and the MGB particularly in areas that involved her in the creation and implementation of policies, programs and regulations for the mining sector. With her extensive knowledge and experience in the field, she is a sought-after resource person in international and local stakeholder fora.
From Indonesia, the webinar featured Maya Muchlis, founder and Executive Director of Women in Mining & Energy Indonesia. Muchlis has over 13 years of extensive professional experience in Mining, Oil and Gas industry. Her work focuses on environmental and biodiversity best management practice; and environmental planning and sustainability management.
During her talk, she gave some insightful background on the traditional culture in Indonesia (or Asia in general) where a married woman may not always have the freedom to choose her career. For example, women usually quit their jobs or college studies just because their husbands are against it. This is because women are expected by their parents and spouse to stay home and take care of their children.
Zara Grace C. Lugo is the President of Kelly Construction & Supply Co., Manager of Kelly Logistics, Manager of Kelly Trucking Services & General Merchandise and owner of Farmacia Surigao. Lugo is one of the few women who heads a company engaged in the mining industry since 2012. She is from Surigao City and graduated from National University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy.
In her personal sharing of difficulties, she mentioned her struggle being a non-engineer in an industry where most of her colleagues and clients are engineers. She also mentioned that the harsh environment in mine sites is also a difficult work scenario.
Pia Saldajeno, is a hydraulic excavator operator at the Berong Nickel Corporation. She was recognized as 2021 Most Empowered Women in Mining in the MIMAROPA REGION by MGB “for her fearlessness and grit in rising above her circumstances to succeed in a demanding and male-dominated profession”.
Another lady from Berong Nickel Corporation is Deborah Arquio. She is the Officer-in-Charge of Community Relations department. Her main responsibility is to establish and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the communities in which the company operates. Arquio is also responsible in implementing projects, programs and activities identified by the community, coordinates with various local government units in promoting Company’s interest and preserving good relation with them.
They shared their stories of difficulty in the past as a young mother who is pregnant while in a mine site. Another story was about struggling to overcome her fear of operating heavy machinery while her male colleagues were often judging her as someone weak and incompetent just because she is a woman.
In a nutshell, what is nice about hearing the stories of these women is the happy ending where eventually they were able to master and excel in their work. Also, most of them shared stories where eventually, being a woman was no longer a hindrance for success and work-life balance. They were also able to gain acceptance and respect from their male colleagues in the end.
Marcelle P. Villegas - March 12, 2019
How wars and historical events affected the mining industry
By Marcelle P. Villegas For the past centuries, the mining industry in the Philippines was greatly affected by the changes of government or colonisers, events around the world and more. It seems that whenever there is war, there is also a rise in the demand in certain mineral resources or a fall in the production rate of some minerals. August is History Month in the Philippines as promoted by Government and Education sectors. The Philippines is rich in natural resources, cultural heritage and more noticeably, we are rich in history which brought progress or hindrance in economic growth through the years. Last August, during the Philippine Mining and Exploration Association (PMEA) Monthly Membership Meeting, one of the keynote speakers is Mr Hernulfo “Nonoy” Ruelo, Geologist Consultant. The title of his presentation is “Copper-Gold Discoveries and Mine in the Philippines - Understanding the Past, in order to make sense of the Current, and the Future”. It was a well-researched report and analysis on how historical events, like wars or change in leaders, affected the mining sector and the socio-economic status of the country. The presentation takes us back in time with some rare vintage photos from the past. During the pre-Spanish Period, the earliest use of metal in the Philippines by our Filipino ancestors was the use of copper for ornamentation, not for tools or currency. Other metals used were gold and tumbaga (copper alloyed with gold). “Gold was the major form of ‘currency’ among the early Filipinos and one of the first things they [ancestors] taught their children was the knowledge of gold and the weights with which they measured.” (From the book by Evelyn J. Caballero, 1996. “Gold from the Gods: Traditional small-scale miners in the Philippines”. Giraffe Books, Quezon City.( p 196 and 263) On note, the pre-colonial mining methods had no environmental impact on land, water, air and people. Pre-Spanish Period Mining in the Philippines started in the 3rd century when gold was traded with China and the Javanese empire where the height of this trade was during 12th to 14th century. The Chinese were the first foreign miners. Gold is both a commodity and a medium of exchange. When the Spaniards arrived in the 1521, gold was already being mined, traded and used as jewelry or ornamentation by the native Filipinos. In fact, 16th century Filipino noblemen were decked in gold. Colonial Period Under Spain 1500s - 1898: Paracale and Cordillera were the oldest goldfields. From 1500s - 1700s, gold was one of the tributes collected by the Spanish government and given to the King of Spain. In 1583 and 1595, an expedition was sent to mine in Cordillera but was a failure due to the resistance of the Igorots. “Gold mining before the coming of the Americans was primarily in the hands of enterprises organized in the Philippines by Spaniards and Chinese mestizos and Filipinos, with a few other companies trying, without success, to produce commercially.” (Ref. - Wirkus 1974) In 1600 to 1700, about 10,000 ounces of gold per annum were shipped to Spain, and the gold shipments to Spain increased from 1800 to 1895. For copper, the Spaniards opened the first copper mine in the country in 1842, called the Carawisan copper mine in Antique province. From 1864 to 1874, the Contrabro-Filipino Company operated Mankayan Copper Mine. Gold mining made its comeback in commerce in 1892 where concessions to foreigners were first granted. The British explorer, Frank Karuth of Philippine Mineral Syndicate, led the commercial-scale hard-rock and alluvial gold operations in Paracale District until 1895. (Ref. - Chaput 1987) Philippine Revolution 1896 – 1902: With the rise of the Philippine revolt against Spain, in 1896, mining operations at Paracale dwindled until 1902 when the Filipino-American War ended. The Organic Act of 1902 was created which organized companies, issued patents, and established the Geological & Mining Science Department. By 1927, gold was the third best export commodity and initiated by the Philippine (Manila) Stock Exchange. In the following years, the Mining Act of 1935 was released (Commonwealth Act 137) which introduced the Regalian Doctrine, the concept of Mining Lease, and the establishment of Bureau of Mines. The Americans invested US$ 34.2M in gold production. Mining for copper was reopened in 1936, the same time when the Japanese savvy for copper was high and led to the ‘discovery’ of the first large porphyry copper deposit in the country. Commonwealth Period 1937 - 1941: This period in Philippine history was considered a golden era when Manila was highly modernised and was one of the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia. In fact, in 1937, we had the best and well-equipped airport in the Southeast Asia, the Nielson Airport. (This is now Ayala Triangle Park in Makati City, and the original Nielson Tower is now “Blackbird” Restaurant.) Although this elegant airport was primary used as an aviation school, it also paved the way for trade and commerce for foreign investors. Philippine Airline made its first commercial flight in 1941, from Nielson Airport to Baguio. The Philippines was the largest gold producer in Asia and second only to California in world production. During the American period, 9 million oz of gold was produced from 1906 – 1941. Japanese Occupation 1942 – 1945: Being a colony of United States of America, the Philippines got itself involved in war against the Japanese who invaded Manila in 1942. The Japanese took over Lepanto and the Hixbar mines (Rapu-rapu) and was able to mine and extract 11,000 tonnes of copper. No gold production was recorded. With the aggressive strategies of conquering their neighboring countries, Japan was unstoppable that time in their collection of natural resources that were needed to fuel their warships and planes and the production of weapons. Battleships Musashi and Yamato where the two giants in naval power that made Japan feared by other nations. The two battleships were defeated though in the Philippines during the Battle in Leyte Gulf in October 1945 which paved the way to the Liberation of Manila and eventually the whole country. Post-war Reconstruction 1946 – 1954: Those post-war years were hard times for all war-torn countries. However, with the need for repairs infrastructure after WWII, there was an increase in the global demand for copper. Some gold mines in the Philippines were rehabilitated but the problems were lack of capital and low market demand. Copper production re-started in 1947. Since Manila was the ground zero and battlefield of the war that ended WWII in the Pacific (Battle of Manila in 1945), there were serious damages in the country’s economy and on the mining industry. Korean War 1954 – 1960: For the Filipino soldiers who fought the Japanese during WWII, the Korean War was the first time for them to fight a battle in a foreign land. Although this war affected Southeast Asia directly, the gold prices maintained. However, in mid 1950s, the gold mines collapsed due to a recession period. The copper price rose slight due to high world demand. More Philippine copper mines opened. Vietnam War 1960-1975: In 1972, U.S. President Nixon took dollar off the gold standard. It was fixed at $35 since 1934, but gold prices are allowed to float free which devalued dollar to $38. In 1973, world gold price jumped from $38 to $120. World copper rate hit high at $0.90 in 1974. World copper mine production was at its peak. Martial Law 1972 - 1986: During Martial Law in the Philippines, copper price trended upward where the country’s copper production continued and boomed in 1980 where it reached its peak. It was in 1980 when Philippine copper production was recorded the highest at 306 Kt. However, the World Oil Crisis in 1973 - 1980 brought about a decline in copper demand. World Recession in 1982 – 1984 pulled down the copper prices. Philippine inflation devalued the Philippine peso and there was an increase in production costs, materials and equipment. The Global recession resulted in a decline in copper demand. The Philippine gold production was sustained and gold prices surged from 1978 to 1980. The modern Gold Bloom in 1980s brought about the rise of unregulated Small Scale Mining. In summary, the explanatory variables of growth and decline in PH copper industry in the 1950s-1980s are: - For Copper resources: risk capital or investments, development in the world’s copper market, technology, human capital in mining, domestic social, legal, and political environment . - For the gold industry: gold resources, competition, commodity price, production costs, technology (bulk mining, milling, treatment), damages – natural & man-made disasters (Reference). T.M. Santos 2001 . Growth of Copper Production: Determinants and Empirical Evidence. Social Science Diliman, July-December 2001. 2:2, 1-49.) There were other historical events in the Philippines that followed like: EDSA Revolution: 1986-1992 - gold averaged $381, copper $1.02 – There was investment uncertainty and several mines closed. New mining laws were crafted like the 1991 RA 7076 (Small Scale Mining Act). The 1987 Constitution replaced Leasehold into Agreements system. From 1990s – 2004, there was collapse of the local mining industry. However from 2004 – 2009, there was a revitalization of the mining industry with EO 270 National Policy Agenda – Mineral Action Plan. Gold price surged from $410 to $873. Copper production hit lowest in 2004 at 16 Kt since 1957. The year 2005 brought global gold boom where Philippine gold-copper mines had expansion and reopening. The Aquino Administration from 2010-2016 was within the Global Mining Boom period (2010 - 2013). It was a successful period for Philippine mine exploration, prospect drill-testing, and resource evaluation drilling. In conclusion, Mr Ruelo presented a list of challenges that miners will need to face at the present time, namely: - Fewer outcropping “easy-to-find” deposits are now left except in high-risk and “inaccessible” areas. - Current mining operations will encounter increasing real costs (labor, materials, energy, environmental, community impact) that will affect production. - The next generation of lower-grade copper/gold projects require significantly higher metal prices to justify development. - We need to discover high-quality or better gold/copper resources, even deeper ones that can be economically mined – e.g. in greenfields and brownfields.
Patricia A. O. Bunye - March 17, 2021
International Women in Mining and the Wawa Weir 2 Project
Kicking off International Women’s Month, the International Women in Mining Alliance (IWIM) Alliance held its first ever-virtual Global WIM Summit on March 1-2. Through the wonder of technology, I had the pleasure of connecting with other IWIM leaders throughout the world without having to hop on a plane and despite our differences in time zones. The summit also combined live and pre-recorded sessions which made it possible to view sessions at leisure. Diwata-Women in Resource Development, Inc, of which I was Founding President, is IWIM’s member organization in the Philippines. There are currently at least 37 IWIM organizations throughout the world. The Alliance is a pioneering initiative that brings IWIM organizations together to leverage their collective strength to provide a global, multilateral platform that will facilitate collaboration among them and promote the emergence of a strong, unified IWIM voice. Prior to its launch, the different IWIM organizations were under a loose umbrella, getting together only occasionally for teleconferences to exchange ideas and experiences. Last year, IWIM embarked on a strategic partnership with the World Bank on a research project to gather information to understand the opportunities and constraints women in mining organizations face. Results of the research project have been collated in a report to be published online and presented at international mining conferences starting with the Global WIM Summit. It will also be presented at Mining Indaba, PDAC, the World Bank's 2nd Gender Conference, and other events. In November last year, Diwata’s core group, led by our President, Atty. Joan Adaci-Cattiling, were interviewed by the World Bank’s researcher on the challenges we have faced, the lessons we have learned and our recommendations for strengthening IWIM organizations. Hearing excerpts of the final report, it was heartening to know that our sisters in other IWIM organizations face the same challenges, including difficulty in obtaining funding, dependence on the efforts of volunteers and getting members who are busy with their day jobs to engage. One session that I would have wanted to attend, but missed was on “Role Models and Mentors for Women in Mining”. While women are very well represented in all facets of the mining industry (as geologists, mining engineers, metallurgists, environmental scientists, community relations officers, lawyers, accountants, human resources professionals, adminstrative staff, truck drivers, etc.), we want to see the numbers of women at the very top increase. Recently, the Philippines topped Grant Thornton International’s 2021 Women in Business Report, a global survey among 29 economies on the role of women in senior management. While I do not have the figures for the mining industry, a quick “scan of the room” will show the male mining CEOs still outnumber the women. Thankfully, we have strong figures likes Gloria Tan Climaco, Chairman of the Board of Filminera Resources Corporation and Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation, and Diwata’s own Joan Adaci-Cattiling, President of OceanaGold (Philippines), Inc., as exemplars. Before the March 2020 lockdown, Diwata was scheduled to launch its 'Industry Leaders' professional mentorship & networking program (with Gloria Tan Climaco as the first speaker), which is designed to benefit female professionals through interaction with respected resource persons, professional mentorship and networking opportunities. While it is entirely possible to hold this activity online in the near future, we are still looking forward to in-person connections with our members soon, particularly young women mining professionals who will most benefit from the program. In the eight years of Diwata’s existence, perhaps we have focused on the word “resources” in its name to refer to natural resources, but we have not lost sight of our equally valuable human resources. To build and sustain the mining industry, we must support the professional development and career progression of the women who “hold up half the sky”. On February 26, I had the pleasure of emceeing the Philippine Infrastructure & Construction Club’s webinar on the Prime BMD Wawa Weir 2 Project featuring Prime BMD’s CEO J.V. Emmanuel A. “Jocot” De Dios and Director of Operations, Jeff Gallus. They were joined by their colleague, Gisoue (Jeff) Pani, who focused on the technical aspects of the project. Once completed, the Wawa Weir 2 Project is expected to deliver 518 million liters per day (MLD) of water to 500,000 households within Manila Water Co. Inc.’s franchise area. The presentation was very timely as water is a basic necessity that cannot be taken for granted, especially as pointed out by Jocot, our population grows and migration into Metro Manila increases the demand for water. In the webinars that I have hosted and attended, I have noted that the attendees are less shy about asking questions. Perhaps this is because 99% of webinars start punctually compared to live events, and more time can be devoted to the Q&A. In the Q&A on the Wawa Weir 2 Project, the questions ranged from technical to practical (“who do we contact in your company”), but what I found most interesting were Jocot’s responses to observations that Prime BMD appears to have handled its community relations well. In the case of Prime BMD, Jocot says that there is no tried and tested formula or template, but what has worked well for them is ensuring respect for the communities, particularly the indigenous communities, in their project area, constantly engaging with them to understand their needs, and upholding their culture and traditions. This is of course easier said than done, but it seems, at least in this respect, Prime BMD has succeeded where other companies have faced much difficulty. Patricia A. O. Bunye is a Senior Partner at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia where she heads its Mining & Natural Resources Department and Energy practice group. She is also the Founding President of Diwata-Women in Resource Development, Inc., a non-government organization advocating the responsible development of the Philippines’ wealth in resources, principally through industries such as mining, oil and gas, quarrying, and other mineral resources from the earth for processing.
Marcelle P. Villegas - May 29, 2019
Economist Dr Bernardo M. Villegas on Nickel Mining Sustainability
Last 19th of March 2019, Dr. Bernardo Malvar Villegas was one of the special guest speakers during the Nickel Initiative 2019 Conference which was held at Shangri-La at the Fort in Taguig City. He delivered the Closing Keynote Presentation with the title “Nickel Mining Can Be Sustainable”. His speech mentioned the vital role of the Philippine government and its agencies in helping the local mining industry become successful and sustainable. Additionally, he offered proactive solutions on how University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), through its Centre for Corporate Responsibility, can help the government and the nickel industry in establishing sustainability, policy and structure, training and communication, stakeholder dialogue and measurement and verification systems. Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas is a well-known Filipino writer, professor and economist. During the time of President Corazon Aquino, he was a member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the Philippine Constitution. Through the years, he has always been an advisor to recent Philippine Presidents. As of 2013, he is the Senior Vice-President at the University of Asia and the Pacific. Dr. Villegas is also the Chairman and Research Director of the Center for Research and Communication, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Makati Business Club (MBC). The MBC is a forum that addresses economic and social policy issues that affect the country’s development. Aside from being a professor at UA&P, Dr. Villegas is also a visiting professor of IESE Business School, a graduate business school of the University of Navarra. IESE is one of the world’s leading business schools with campuses in Barcelona, Madrid, Munich, New York and São Paulo. Dr. Villegas is a Certified Public Accountant in the Philippines. He has a degree in Commerce and the Humanities from De La Salle University, both with Summa Cum Laude honours. Dr. Villegas earned his doctorate degree in Economics at the Harvard University. At age 21, he became a teaching fellow at the College of Arts and Sciences in Harvard University. In 1972, he received the TOYM award (Ten Outstanding Young Men). His other awards include those from Fulbright, Johnson Foundation, Asia Foundation and the Instituto de Cultura Hispanica. With all his awards and achievements here and abroad, the 80-year-old professor is considered one of the best economists in the country with his excellence and wisdom in his field and in addressing issues concerning national development. - - - SPEECH OF DR. BERNARDO M. VILLEGAS AT THE NICKEL INITIATIVE 2019 (19 March 2019, Shangri-la at the Fort, BGC, Taguig City, Philippines) “Nickel Mining Can Be Sustainable” by Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas It would not be an overstatement to say that the Philippine mining industry has gone through a self-inflicted environmental and political crisis over the last two or three years. The environmental crisis can be attributed to real damage caused to the Philippine environment by some mining firms that resulted in either suspension or closure of mining operations. The political crisis resulted from decisions made during the early years of the Duterte Administration that exaggerated these violations of rules of sustainable development to the complete disregard of the many positive contributions of the mining industry to income growth, poverty eradication and employment generation. Politics is the art of the possible. It always involves balancing different societal objectives. Some of those who formulated mining policies at the beginning of the present Administration were not able to do the necessary balancing act among conflicting objectives. They gave short shrift to the economic benefits of the mining industry. The Centre for Social Responsibility of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), led by Dr. Colin Hubo, is doing its best to help both public officials and private investors attain the appropriate balance among the objectives of income growth, foreign exchange earnings, employment generation, poverty alleviation and environmental protection. This is especially important in the nickel industry because the Philippines has become the world’s second largest supplier of nickel ore which has surpassed the production of the former top contributors such as gold, silver and copper. In 2016 and 2017, the country exported 577,000 metric tons of nickel. In 2017, nickel ore exports totalled 230,000 metric tons—a third less than the 2016 figure—but still raked in $455.21 million (P224.533 billion) for the country. In fact, the Philippines has been the world’s top nickel producer in decades past, but the shifting local political landscape combined with real environmental concerns forced it to lose ground to Indonesia. Indonesia has capitalised on our country’s uncertain situation as regards mining policies and kicked its production into high gear to feed the mineral-hungry economy of China. It has to be pointed out that as emerging markets like China, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries in the ASEAN grow at an average of 6 or more percent in GDP in the next decades or so, there will be an explosion in demand for the first applications of nickel, such as stainless steel, nonferrous alloys, alloy steels and castings, plating, and batteries. Rapid industrialization and urbanisation in the Asia Pacific region will see an increasing use of nickel-based products in Architecture, building and construction; process engineering, oil, gas, and power; food contact materials; pulp and paper; transport; healthcare; consumer products and water. Nickel is used in myriad products, especially in the ongoing fourth industrial revolution, because of the following qualities: high-melting point; resistance to corrosion and oxidation; highly ductile; alloys readily and can be fully recycled. The last quality gives nickel very high points in sustainability. Researchers at the Centre for Social Responsibility of UA&P has identified the following multiple challenges facing Philippine nickel miners in the coming years: a) First, what was once one of the most liberal mining regimes in Southeast Asia is now subject to a government crackdown that shows no sign of relenting, even with significant changes in leadership. As noted by Amanda Key in an article for Investingnews.com, “For now, one thing is certain: the direction the Philippines goes with its mining policy moving forward will impact the global nickel market.” b) The second challenge is to produce the right type of nickel ore that end-users, such as Chinese companies, will use to produce anything from stainless steel to batteries to electric vehicles. A recent Standard and Poor’s analysis of the global nickel market indicates that most nickel producers started their operations geared toward producing nickel sulphide ores. When these ores became scarce, the market gravitated toward laterite ores that are costlier to extract. c) Finally, local nickel miners have to decide what grade of ore to produce that would make the most profit, given the generally falling prices for the metal in the world market. Mining firms are slowly shifting to shipping medium-grade ores amid declining prices of the usual low-grade nickel ores—ninety percent of which goes to China from the Philippines. Dante Bravo, President of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), remarked in a recent forum: “For the long term, this would mean that some mines might slow down in their production in the coming years depending on the area being mined. The shift would have to make adjustments depending on mineralization.” Despite some of these uncertainties, there is still a mood of optimism among the nickel miners because of the many uses of nickel in such sunrise industries as electronic vehicles, construction, consumer goods, health care and housing. The more enlightened members of the nickel industry, most of them active in the Philippine Nickel Industry Association, have provided a group of researchers in the Centre for Corporate Responsibility of UA&P concrete evidence that sustainability is very high in their priorities as they truly espouse the triple Ps: People, Planet and Profit. As a group, PNIA members have planted over 4.2 million trees in Caraga and Palawan as part of ongoing progressive rehabilitation and reforestation in several mining sites. This initiative is part of the efforts of the nickel miners to offset its mining footprint with a green footprint. The reforestation effort includes planting endemic trees and grass species such as agoho, mahogany, giant bamboo, and narra, as well as fruit-bearing trees like calamansi, cashew, jackfruit, and cacao, among others. Tree planting in vast forest areas can employ numerous rural dwellers who are among the poorest of the poor in the country, including members of indigenous tribes. The increased supply of these fruit products can also help in slowing down inflation as middle-income households increasingly turn to fruits and vegetables for healthier diets. Cash crops such as rubber, coffee, vegetables and herbal plants have also been planted in the mine sites’ respective nurseries. Apart from providing employment to the residents, the program also allows the companies to help their respective host communities by donating seedlings in support of various greening initiatives. This has given birth to an emerging downstream industry, agro-forestry which also focuses on the community’s livelihood beyond mining. The reforestation program is part of the nickel industry’s commitment and contribution to the government’s National Greening Program which aims to revegetate some 1.2 million hectares of “unproductive, denuded, and degraded” forest land nationwide from 2017 to 2022. Thanks to the responsible nickel mining firms who are actively engaging their respective local government units in their operations, there is an ongoing dramatic shift of local government authorities in their attitudes toward mining activities. LGU heads realize that their active participation in the development of the mining industry is essential to sustained mining development. This new position has been reinforced by the fact that there are initiatives to require mining companies to pay directly to local government units (LGUs) in mining areas their 2 percent share of the firms’ gross sales as local business tax. The past practice was for the national government to collect the levy and then distribute this to the LGUs. There is also an increasing participation of local government authorities in getting informed consent of communities prior to the exploration or site investigation and prior to reaching decision on a development, management or concession agreement. There is also a very healthy trend in which nickel mining companies are participating actively in regional economic development. Whereas in the past, the benefits of mining had been very limited to a relatively few areas, leading nickel mining firms are making significant contributions to building strong local economies which are more balanced and dispersed, with greater social equity. Some of them are experimenting with innovative partnership with LGUs and are pursuing different development models. To expand their multiplier effects on a broader regional level, some of the leading mining companies are collaborating with Regional Development Councils to increase the participation of stakeholders in planning and administration and improving the access of marginal groups in mining-impacted communities to resources and opportunities. It must be pointed out again and again that most mineral ores are found in remote and mountainous areas where there are very few sources of livelihood. The legitimate concern for sustainability of the environment must be tempered with the need to address the serious extreme poverty situation in mineral-rich territories. There is no substitute to a tripartite cooperation among the Government, the mining companies and civil society. There is increased evidence that nickel mining companies are investing in the upscaling and empowerment of host communities in partnership with various groups in order to pool resources and capabilities. The LGU is expected to give approval to the operations, help in getting access to ODA funding, strategic co-ordination through the Regional Development Plans, exercise its new decentralised powers and allot budgets for long-term provision of public services. In its turn, the mining enterprises are expected to source some of its raw materials from the localities, invest in human resource development, make available supply chain facilities, provide project management, construct operational infrastructure, establish certain ethical standards and provide operating funds. Civil society organisations have the advantage of local knowledge, longevity of local presence, independence of views, relevance to household livelihoods and greater capacity to mobilise communities. Civil society is also in a better position to champion environmental sustainability. The way forward for the Philippine nickel mining industry is to integrate sustainable and responsible policies and practices in its core business. The current push for voluntary sustainable mechanisms (codes, policies, guidelines), for example, is a positive step towards integrating social responsibility as part of the mining agenda. At present, there are several methods used to incorporate sustainability into the core business of mining enterprises. Among these are: -Industry-specific codes of conduct such as the Chamber of Mines Code of Corporate Social Responsibility. -Company-specific (internal) codes of conduct and policies. -Sustainability guidelines from international institutions such as World Bank disclosure policy, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) -Pressure from civil society. The application of these methods will surely have long-term positive benefits as can be gleaned from the experiences of other mineral-rich countries. These include: -Raising the acceptable threshold for mining industry sustainability performance and standards; -Providing some leverage upon which mining stakeholders can hold companies accountable if a company fails to implement its own code or policy; -Raising awareness of external factors affecting the core business activity and financial viability of mining firms. It is even more important than ever to demonstrate that industry support for sustainability goes beyond mere rhetoric and is translated into concrete action on the ground. The Philippine nickel industry has to counter prevailing perception that supporting sustainability is only a public relations gimmick but really involves a change of priorities. To accomplish this, the industry can come up with an industry sustainability code which is not only transparent but open to independent monitoring and verification by third party experts and the academe. Some degree of third-party involvement must be in place to ensure transparency and accountability. Furthermore, for sustainability codes to raise the bar of industry performance, it must be based on minimum internationally agreed standards such as the ILO code of human rights among others. The industry needs to put in place “Disciplinary” measures for members who refuse to sign or adhere to the industry code, policies and guidelines. More than other economic sectors, the mining industry cannot be left to free market forces alone. The role of the government is indispensable. Experience in other countries has shown that it is vital that governments themselves are genuinely committed to needed mining reforms and these reforms command a strong degree of government support and regulation. In the case of sustainability, the government, or more specifically the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) itself must be strongly committed to the “government case” for pursuing the sustainability agenda. It cannot be achieved by prescription from external agencies. The “government case” has to be built up by a process of dialogue, which in turn means creating or adapting institutional frameworks for discussion, consolation and negotiation. The process by means of which the MGB eventually builds sustainability policies is as important as the policies themselves. Dialogues must be the core in the development of sustainability policy for the nickel mining industry. It must also be kept in mind that “voluntary” sustainability mechanisms are not easy solutions to all mining dilemmas. It is imperative that partnership with non-corporate stakeholders is established to achieve the necessary improvements. These partnerships can yield the following advantages: they can confer greater legitimacy to mining activities because of multi-stakeholder involvement; they can encourage companies to work together to raise the bar of performance; they can allow mining firms to share capacity building costs; and they can allow corporations to address external factors beyond their core business activity. In this regard, a strong link between academe, industry and government can help the “business case” for sustainability. As an example, the University of Asia and the Pacific, through its Centre for Corporate Responsibility, can assist the government and the nickel industry to establish sustainability, policy and structure, training and communication, stakeholder dialogue and measurement and verification systems. The products of such partnership among academe, government and business can come out with the following: -Nickel Industry Sustainability policy and structure. Clear standards and detailed guidelines are needed to ensure that the industry has a “road map” for incorporating sustainability agenda into its operations. With such details, the industry would be able to measure performance consistently and completely to help meet the stakeholders’ expectations. -Training and communication. Training internal staff is needed because of the recognition that sustainability-type programs require a unique set of skills and competencies. On the other hand, because leadership starts at the top, it is essential for top management to consistently communicate sustainability guidelines internally in order to generate awareness and on convey management support for the program. -Stakeholder dialogue. Dialogue and sharing of information with external parties (companies, civil society) is one of the fundamental shifts in recent years in policy making. NGOs, other civil society organisations, and companies often have information otherwise unavailable to companies or governments. In the case of the nickel mining industry, an academic institution like UA&P with strong links to business may be able to help the industry develop guidelines and policies that are not only effective, but also acceptable and credible to all the stakeholders. Monitoring and verification. A research wing or think tank of an academic institution like UA&P may be a more credible institution to effectively assess compliance of nickel mining firms to various voluntary sustainability mechanisms. Because of serious violations of environmental regulations in the past, the mining industry in general continues to face a public that is skeptical of its efforts to respect and protect the environment. The industry may choose to scrutinise sustainability practices of nickel firms in a more transparent manner by inviting external parties, and by issuing public reports on the findings of independent academic or research institutions. There is no question that the Philippine nickel industry is capable of practising responsible and sustainable mining. As discussed above, what is needed is the political will of all the stakeholders concerned to commit themselves to a continuing dialogue on sustainability practices. For comments, my email address is email@example.com. - - - Acknowledgement: Dr. Bernardo Villegas Ms Cleah Nava, Legislative Officer, Senate of the Philippines
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Philippine Resources - August 03, 2021
OceanaGold Provides Didipio Update and Q2 2021 Financial Results
OceanaGold Corporation reported its financial and operational results for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. Michael Holmes, President and CEO of OceanaGold said, “I am very pleased with the operational and financial performance of the business in the second quarter 2021. Haile delivered a record quarter of gold production and is well on-track to deliver on the full year production guidance. Waihi plant upgrades were completed, and we 2 commenced continuous milling late in the second quarter which is a tremendous outcome as we continue to ramp-up underground operations.” “Based on year-to-date performance we have refined our expectations for the full year. We currently expect consolidated production of 350,000 to 370,000 gold ounces at AISC of $1,200 to $1,250 per gold ounce sold at cash costs of $825 to $875 per ounce sold. Strong first half performance at Haile has put us firmly on track to deliver ahead of 160,000 gold ounces for the full year at moderately higher AISC, largely driven by an increased proportion of mining costs capitalised as pre-strip plus higher than expected mining costs incurred. On the other hand, a softer first half at Macraes is driving production to the lower end of guidance of 155,000 to 165,000 gold ounces for the full year at consequently higher AISC. Waihi is firmly on-track and production guidance remains unchanged but at improved costs. We expect to provide updated consolidated guidance in-line with the staged restart of Didipio over the coming weeks.” “Renewal of the FTAA at Didipio was one of our key priorities this year, and I’m extremely proud to say we delivered. The staged restart of the asset is underway with the current focus on the rehire and training of our skilled Philippine workforce. We expect to restart processing well prior to year-end, initially sourcing mill feed from existing stockpiles at site. Our expectation is to also transport and sell approximately 18,500 gold ounces and 3,500 tonnes of copper in concentrate on site by early fourth quarter. The rehire and retraining of the workforce, as well as the ongoing risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, could impact the timeline associated with returning to full underground production of 1.6Mtpa, which could take up to 12 months. Operations In the first half of the year, the Company produced 177,039 ounces of gold, a 27% increase over the same period in 2020 due to record production at Haile in the second quarter, resumption of campaign processing at Waihi, and limited impacts from COVID-19. Second quarter gold production of 93,848 ounces of gold reflects record production at Haile of 57,240 ounces. Consolidated AISC of $1,227 per ounce sold YTD and $1,226 per ounce sold in the second quarter were relatively flat over the prior year and previous quarter. Cash costs for the first half of the year of $734 per gold ounce and $764 per ounce in the second quarter, decreased 22% and 11%, respectively. The improvement in cash costs primarily reflects lower operating costs at Haile from productivity improvements made year-over-year Haile, USA Haile delivered a record second quarter of 57,240 gold ounces resulting in 101,581 gold ounces produced in the first half of the year. AISC and cash costs improved significantly, benefitting from higher gold sales and lower overall cash costs from productivity improvements. AISC and cash costs for the second quarter were $922 and $615 per ounce, a decrease of 7% and 22%, respectively, quarter-on-quarter. YTD AISC and cash costs were $953 per ounce and $684 per ounce, respectively, down approximately 36% over the prior year period. Unit mining and milling cost decreased quarter-on-quarter, and increased 9% and 36%, respectively, YTD over the prior year period. Second quarter decreases reflect lower maintenance activities on the mining fleet and higher mill feed following milling disruptions from the first quarter; YTD increases are attributable to higher maintenance costs and an unplanned mill disruption from blocked crusher chutes in the first quarter that have since been resolved. The decrease in site G&A quarter-on-quarter reflects the increase mill feed and lower costs during the period. Confirmed COVID-19 cases at site increased from 111 at the end of the first quarter to 120 by the end of the second quarter, a decrease in positive cases from 48 in the first quarter to nine in the second quarter. Looking ahead, the Company expects to transition to ore mining of lower grades at Ledbetter Phase 1 and commence stripping of Ledbetter Phase 2, resulting in materially lower production and higher AISC in the second half of this year. The Company has refined its full year production guidance for Haile to 160,000 to 170,000 gold ounces at site AISC of $1,100 to $1,150 per ounce sold, including cash costs of $850 to $900 per ounce sold. The higher AISC and cash costs reflect higher mining costs incurred plus incremental sustaining capital expenditures related to open pit pre-stripping. Waihi, New Zealand Waihi produced 3,939 gold ounces in the second quarter and 8,276 gold ounces YTD. Second quarter activities at Waihi primarily focussed on the development of Martha Underground and replacement of the semi-autogenous grinding (“SAG”) mill. Approximately 2,665 metres of underground development were completed during the second quarter and 5,210 metres YTD. Sustained milling recommenced in late June following the successful replacement of Waihi’s SAG mill. AISC and cash costs for the second quarter were $1,223 and $1,215 per ounce sold, respectively, and increased quarter-on-quarter with higher operating costs associated with limited early production, partly offset by moderately higher gold sales. YTD AISC and cash costs were $1,099 per ounce and $976 per ounce, respectively, increases over the prior year period with the ramp-up of production at Martha Underground as expected. Unit mining costs were relatively unchanged quarter-on-quarter with mining of narrow vein ore at Correnso and early production from Martha Underground in both quarters. YTD mining costs reflect early production from Martha Underground relative to the prior year. Processing cost and site G&A increases in the second quarter reflect the planned shutdown for replacement of the SAG mill and resultant lower mill feed. Lower site G&A YTD over the prior year reflects normal operations relative to 2020 which included impacts from COVID-19-related shutdowns. Full year 2021 production guidance at Waihi remains unchanged while cost guidance has improved. The Company expects to produce 35,000 to 45,000 ounces at lower gold cash cost of $900 to $950 per ounce and site AISC of $1,300 to $1,350 per ounce sold. The Company anticipates ramp-up of production over the course of the second half with the highest quarter of production for the year expected in the fourth quarter. Macraes, New Zealand Macraes produced 32,669 gold ounces in the second quarter and 67,182 gold ounces in the first half of 2021. Lower than expected production in the second quarter reflects geotechnical impacts at the Coronation North open pit that slowed mining rates reducing access to higher grade ore zones, as well as a delayed re-start from the planned shut during the quarter to address out-of-scope maintenance requirements Second quarter AISC and cash costs were $1,524 and $897 per ounces sold, respectively. YTD AISC and cash costs were $1,428 and $857 per ounce sold, respectively. Cash costs increased approximately 10% quarter-onquarter and YTD over the prior year period, reflecting the lower ounces, a net drawdown in inventory and additional contractor costs to fill workforce vacancies. Similar increases in AISC also reflect the higher sustaining capital spend related to increased pre-stripping at Deepdell North and waste movements in the quarter and first half. Unit mining costs were 6% and 28% higher quarter-on-quarter and YTD over the prior year period, respectively, as a result of reduced trucking productivity from inclement weather which saturated haul roads, flooded active open pit mining areas, and rendered the underground inaccessible for a two-week period in the first quarter. Mining efforts were subsequently re-directed to increased waste mining and pre-stripping at Deepdell North open pit through the first half. Processing unit costs also increased over comparable periods, reflecting the one-off mill motor outage in the first quarter and extended mill shutdown during the second quarter. Due to the lower-than-expected production in the first half, the Company expects Macraes full year production to be in the lower end of the guidance range of 155,000 to 165,000 gold ounces at cash costs of $800 to $850 per ounce and increased site AISC to $1,200 to $1,250 per ounce sold over the full year, primarily driven by increased sustaining capital spend related to pre-stripping at Deepdell North and additional underground development. Production is still expected to increase in the third quarter and be higher overall in the fourth quarter of 2021. Didipio, Philippines There was no production from Didipio in the second quarter and first half due to the suspension of operations. The Company expensed $5.5 million in the second quarter and $10.0 million YTD of holding costs as part of consolidated Corporate General and Administration, which relates to maintaining Didipio in a state of operational standby. Subsequent to second quarter end, the Government of the Philippines renewed the Didipio FTAA for a further 25 years. The Company’s primary focus is the safe and responsible start-up of operations, which includes recruitment and training of the workforce and the transport of approximately 15,000 tonnes of copper-gold concentrate produced prior to the shutdown of operations. The Company expects to progressively ramp-up to full underground mining rates of 1.6 Mtpa within the next twelve months, depending on workforce rehiring and recruitment efforts. Ore from the underground will incrementally and steadily offset mill feed from stockpiled ore of which there is currently 19 million tonnes. Since March 2020, 72 positive COVID-19 cases have been managed at Didipio, 63 of which occurred in the second quarter of 2021. The Company experienced a significant increase in COVID-19-positive cases early in the second quarter, consistent with the spread of COVID-19 in the local and surrounding communities. The site continues to follow strict health and safety protocols to prevent the ongoing transmission of the virus at site. Financial In the first half of the year, the Company generated $331.5 million in revenue, a 42% increase from the prior year period due to record production at Haile, improved average gold price and early production at Waihi with the development of Martha Underground. Quarter-on-quarter revenue increased 23% with record production from Haile, partly offset by lower sales from Macraes where production was impacted by geotechnical issues that rendered higher grade ore zones of the open pit inaccessible. First half adjusted EBITDA (excluding Didipio carrying costs) of $161.9 million nearly tripled year-on-year, reflecting improved revenues on higher gold prices and record production at Haile at improved cash costs, as compared to the first half of 2020 which included impacts related to COVID-19 shutdowns. Quarter-on-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $95.4 million increased 43%, benefitting from record production at Haile at improved operating costs, partly offset by lower sales from Macraes. Adjusted net profit was $36.9 million or $0.05 per share on a fully diluted basis in the second quarter and $58.7 million or $0.08 per share on a fully diluted basis YTD. The quarter-on-quarter and year-over-year increases were mainly a function of the higher revenue from increased sales volumes. The increases were partly offset by income tax expense of $15.8 million in the second quarter and $21.5 million YTD due to the operational profits in the USA and New Zealand. Additionally, there were no potential tax benefits recognised associated with the costs incurred to maintain Didipio in a state of operational readiness. Operating cash flows YTD were $83.4 million, a decrease year-over-year given the $79.0 million received from the gold presale in the first quarter of 2020. Excluding working capital adjustments, fully-diluted cash flow per share was $0.22 YTD and $0.13 for the second quarter. First half investing cash flows of $152.8 million were significantly higher than the prior year period, primarily due to higher growth capital expenditures at Haile related to the expansion of waste storage facilities, increased prestripping at Macraes and the ongoing development of Martha Underground at Waihi. As at June 30, 2021, the Company’s cash balance stood at $92.3 million, and net debt increased quarter-onquarter to $224.8 million, mainly reflecting the lower cash balance. The Company’s total debt facilities stood at $250 million of which $50 million remains undrawn as at 30 June 2021.
Philippine Resources - August 02, 2021
Lawmaker Renews Call for Mining Tax Regime, Trust Fund During National Confab of Mining Stakeholders
Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has called for the passage of the proposed fiscal regime for the mining industry, saying the industry is a potential job creator in the post-COVID future. Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, emphasized the natural wealth potential of the Philippines, but observed "key deficiencies in the country’s extractive industry governance framework," some of which can be resolved by a “coherent tax regime.” “The country is the fifth most mineral-rich country in the world for gold, nickel, copper, and chromite. It is also home to the largest copper-gold deposit in the world. Estimates suggest that up to 840 billion dollars of untapped mineral wealth is in Philippine soil,” Salceda said in his keynote speech during the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) National Conference on Thursday. “This is not to mention the 17.1 billion barrels of oil deposits that China’s Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources estimates to be in the Spratlys, or the 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that the US Energy Information Administration believes to be in the area. “These resources, if extracted and managed properly, could make the Philippines one of the richest countries in the world,” Salceda added. Salceda noted that although the issuance of Executive Order 130, amending Section 4 of Executive Order No. 79 s. 2012, lifted the moratorium imposed by the latter on new mining agreements, the Executive Order still has areas for improvement. “First, neither Congress nor the Department of Finance, the country’s fiscal policymakers and fiscal administrators respectively, are given a specific role in this process by the new EO,” Salceda said. Salceda also observed that the EO delegates some powers that are not supported by law, including the power of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to negotiate tax agreements with miners. Salceda also said it is the DOF that has the experience in financial management and should therefore negotiate revenue sharing agreements on the government’s behalf. Salceda, however, emphasized the high potential of the mining sector post-pandemic. “As the world shifts towards electric-powered transport, and as the digital economy continues its ascent, the global economy will require more minerals, especially nickel and copper, which we abound in. Nickel prices are once again in 5-year high levels. So is copper and cobalt, elements needed for e-vehicle batteries,” Salceda said. “Regardless of the grade of minerals we produce, demand is high across the board. It can only mean well for our mining industry’s bottom lines in the medium-term,” Salceda added. Salceda stressed the revenue-generating potential of the industry if a tax regime is enacted. “The tax revenues are also crucial for economic recovery. The proposed regime will generate P7.2 billion in incremental revenues on the first year and P37.9 billion over the next 5 years. These are closed-group estimates. “They are probably conservative, as more mining agreements are made and as mineral prices continue to boom. So, these revenues will play an important role in helping stabilize our fiscal situation,” Salceda said. The industry could create well-paying jobs post-pandemic but stressed the need for a mining trust fund supported by tax revenues from mining as a “rainy day fund” for when mineral prices are low. “Of course, that’s [high prices] not forever. Manufacturers will find ways to reduce metallic content when the metals get too expensive. When that happens, prices will inevitably fall. We must be ready. The tax regime is not everything, but it’s a necessary step we cannot skip,” Salceda said.
Philippine Resources - August 02, 2021
Philex Delivers PHP1.149B Core Net Income in 1H2021, An Increase of 186% Compared with 1H2020
Photo Credit: Redjie Melvic Cawis Philex Mining Corporation announced that the Company achieved another new high in its revenues and core net income for 2Q2021. Philex recorded a Core Net Income of Php610 million for the 2nd quarter. In addition to the Php540 million core net income it already recorded in 1Q2021, Philex registered a new high core net income for the first half of the year at Php1.149 billion. Satisfactory execution of the mining plan resulted in sustained level of metal output, and optimum operating cost and expenses delivered the higher core net income for the quarter and year-todate ended June 30, 2021. The Company reported a Net Income of Php600 million for 2Q2021 versus the reported Net Income of Php322 million for the same period in 2020, an 86% increase. Production and Revenues The Company milled slightly lower tonnage than the first quarter of 2021 resulting in slightly lower copper output for 2Q2021. Despite the slightly lower copper output, the Company generated higher revenues for 2Q2021 at Php2.377 billion, higher by 21% over the same period in 2020. This brings 1H2021 revenues to Php4.747 billion, ahead by 29% over the same period in 2020, with revenues only at Php3.680 billion. The higher revenues are due mainly to the sustained higher realized metal prices for both Gold and Copper at $1,807 per ounce and $4.21 per pound, respectively. The satisfactory execution of the mining plan and mill operations resulted in the production of 13,612 ounces of Gold and 6.435 million pounds of Copper for 2Q2021, bringing the 1H2021 total metal output at 27,025 ounces of Gold and 13.205 million pounds of Copper. Operating Costs and Expenses Core and Net Income Operating costs and expenses for 2Q2021 at Php1.593 billion are higher than those of 2Q2020 at Php1.552 billion due to slightly higher production expenses and higher excise taxes and royalties attributable to higher revenues. The slight increase was tempered by lower non-cash production costs in 2Q2021 amounting to Php271 million compared with non-cash production costs in 2Q2020 amounting to Php330 million. This brings the 1H2021 operating costs and expenses to P3.240 billion, higher by Php136 million compared with 1H2020. The increase is attributable to increasing production cost brought about by the effects of the pandemic to the supply chain, including logistics and Covid-19 response undertaken by the Company. Reported Net Income for 2Q2021 increased by 86% to Php600 million from Php322 million in 2Q2020 This brings the Company’s 1H2021 reported Net Income to Php1.159 billion from Php425 million of 1H2020. Core Net Income for 2Q2021 reached Php610 million to close the 1H2021 Core Net Income at Php1.149 billion, higher by 186% versus the Core Net Income of Php402 million in 1H2020. The Company generated EBITDA of Php1.016 billion for the 2Q2021 versus Php708 million in 2Q2020, a 44% increase. This brings the 1H2021 EBITDA to Php2.027 billion versus Php1.127 billion in 1H2020, an increase of 80% COVID 2019 Despite our strict implementation of the IATF-DOH mandated health protocols, the Company was not spared by the spread of the Covid19 virus. Several employees and their dependents were infected by the virus but the infection was immediately contained, preventing widespread transmission, and ensuring the continued operation of both the mine and mill plant. The Company adopted and implemented regular surveillance and contact tracing activities to further strengthen its defense against any transmission to its employees and their dependents. Silangan Project The Board of Directors of Philex has approved the In-Phase development of Silangan and the Company will be appointing a financial advisor to assist in the fund raising that will commence as soon as practicable. With the In-Phase development of Silangan, the capital expenditure requirement will be made in stages, and can be funded from a variety of potential resources including internally-generated cash and potentially through equity and debt from investors and creditors. The Company is confident that Silangan development will start by Q22022 with the target of commencing commercial operations in January 2025. “We will be working with our financial advisor to immediately implement the fund raising activity for the InPhase development of Silangan. We believe that the recent government pronouncements related to the mining industry will increase the level of interest and confidence of investors and lenders to mining companies. The launch of Silangan will be very timely.”, emphasized Eulalio B Austin, Jr, Philex President and CEO. “The global outlook for metal prices continue to be positive and Philex is poised to benefit as we emphasize on excellent execution of plans in light of the current volatile environment brought about by this pandemic. In the next couple of months, we set to launch our Silangan Project under an In-Phase Development approach. Silangan will be an exciting project for Philex.”, concluded Manuel V. Pangilinan, Philex Chairman. Article Courtesy of The Philippine Stock Exchange