19 Sept. 2023 - Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Chairman, Mr Michael Toledo, leads the opening ceremony of the Mining Philippines 2023 at EDSA Shangri-La Manila, Mandaluyong City [Photo by Marcelle Villegas]
The Chamber of Mines fo the Philippines (COMP) welcomes ‘positive changes’ as it kicks off the 2023 Mining Philippines International Conference and Exhibition at the Edsa Shangri-la in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday.
In his welcome remarks, Michael Toledo, COMP Chairman, said among the notable positive changes are the the lifting of the moratorium on new mining projects and of the ban on open pit mining.
“It took a global contagion before these decade-long policy roadblocks were removed and the importance of mining was recognized,” Toledo said.
“While most other industries were staggering and downsizing at the height of Covid-19, only a few large-scale mining operations experienced temporary closure, and these were due mainly to local government directives. This explains why mineral exports were largely unaffected and employment in mining was generally stable throughout the pandemic.”
“With the roadblocks to mining finally removed, three large copper-gold projects that were stymied by the policy roadblocks – Tampakan, Silangan, and King King – are now in a better position to proceed to development,” he said.
All 3 projects, he said, will provide enormous benefits to host communities in particular through jobs and revenues both to the National Government and host Local Government Units (LGUs) though taxes and royalties.
“Those are just three projects that were hampered by the constricting policy environment. If we can establish stable mining policies over the long term, we can see more projects coming onstream,” he said.
“The industry’s potential will grow even more over time. And the Chamber of Mines is extremely hopeful that stability is just around the bend,” he added.
Lastly, mining’s biggest sigh of relief is magnified by another positive change – government support.
“Our hope is magnified by another positive change. At long last, we have a government that has clearly expressed support – qualified support, let me emphasize that – for mining. The administration of President Bongbong Marcos, through the pronouncements of several cabinet officials in various forums…acknowledges mining as a priority sector with a high growth potential that will help our economy recover,” he said.
“We have been laying the groundwork – using a deliberately phased approach – to further improve our members’ ESG performance by way of the Towards Sustainable Mining initiative,” he said.
TSM is a set of tools and indicators to drive performance and ensure that key mining risks are managed responsibly, and best practices are used at members’ facilities. It was established by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) in 2004 and adopted by COMP in 2017, making the Philippines the first in Asia to subscribe to this self-assessment system that is rapidly evolving into the global standard for best practices in sustainable mining. COMP has made compliance with TSM mandatory to all its members.
“Consequently, we are on track to meet our target of making available to the public the 2023 and 2024 externally verified self-assessment reports of our operating members,” he said.
Finally, Toledo welcomed the government’s move to rejoin the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative. “We in the Chamber are open to any undertaking that encourages good governance. After all, we cherish our position at the forefront of transparency reporting in the extractives sector.”
As the world advances toward a wider energy transition to meet global carbon reduction objectives in response to climate change, mining's relevance has grown and become even more crucial,” he said.
As minerals are an essential part of clean renewable energy technologies and the demand for minerals to produce these technologies is increasing, Toledo said the Philippines must take advantage of opportunities in the energy transition.
To do that, he said mining companies must be able to address the divided public opinion on mining.
Moreover, Toledo underscored the need to resolve other issues affecting the investment climate in the industry, including conflicting local and national laws, our country’s high power costs, a protracted permitting process, and a fiscal regime that will not only enhance our country’s competitiveness as a mining investment destination, but equally important, reflective of the government’s designation of mining from being merely a “beneficial” industry to one that is “essential” and “critical”.
“Global trends, the challenges they pose, and the positive changes being effected by our policy makers and industry players aimed at ensuring sustainability are gradually transforming mining as an area of growth, responsibility, and a future that gleams with possibility,” he ended.
This article is a press release of Chamber of Mines of the Philippines
Sept. 19, 2023
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CHAMBER OF MINES OF THE PHILIPPINES Unit 801 Raffles Corporate Center, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines Tel: Nos.: (632) 635-4123 to 24; 635-4159 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.chamberofmines.com.ph