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Philippine Resources - July 31, 2022

PH, SoKor discuss nuclear cooperation

Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega met with Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Ltd (KHNP) executives last July 19 to discuss future Philippines-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation on nuclear technology and renewable energy. The KHNP executives include Project and Overseas Nuclear Business Division Executive Vice President Nam Yoh-Shik, Overseas Nuclear Business Section Vice President Kim Yongsoo and Overseas Nuclear Business Section Senior Manager Choi Younghwan. During the call, De Vega affirmed the Philippines’ interest in focusing on a viable and sustainable energy plan and informed ROK that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. himself expressed interest in pursuing nuclear technology and other energy cooperation platforms with South Korea. KHNP is the largest power generator in Korea, producing one-third or around 28 percent of Korea’s domestic demand for power through a combination of nuclear power, hydropower, pumped-storage power, and new and renewable energy. It is also an energy partner of 29 countries for the global power supply. KHNP is a long-time partner of the Philippines on energy-related activities, having led the feasibility studies for the safe use of the Bataan nuclear power plant and the Cagayan Eco Zone. The KNHP likewise shared they are trying to support more experts in the nuclear energy sector and was pleased to share that Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) International School has a student engineer from the Philippines. The officials looked forward to further strengthening PH-ROK energy cooperation in the future.   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - July 31, 2022

Malampaya acquisition deal signed

Photo credit: A subsidiary of Enrique Razon Jr.-led company has signed a share purchase agreement to formalize the acquisition of stakes in Malampaya gas field from Dennis Uy’s firm. In a statement Friday, Prime Infrastructure Capital, Inc. bared that its unit, Prime Exploration Pte. Ltd., sealed the share purchase deal with MEXP Holding Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of Udenna Corp. Prime Infra added the transaction is still subject to the consent of the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corp. (PNOC EC) and the Department of Energy (DOE). To recall, MEXP acquired 45-percent share of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) in Malampaya deep-water gas-to-power project. SPEX is also the operator of the natural gas field. MEXP’s buyout of SPEX’s share in Malampaya was a subject of Senate inquiries in 2021. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian then urged the DOE to carefully assess the financial health of Udenna’s subsidiary. Prime Infra said its acquisition of shares in Malampaya will inject investments to expand Malampaya operations, adding it supports the administration’s goal of energy security. “We believe that gas is an important transition fuel in the near-term, reducing the need for baseload fossil fuels like coal. Hence, we intend to accelerate investments on the Malampaya gas field to improve the output of existing wells and, if possible, develop new wells in the area once the license extension is secured from the government,” Prime Infra chairperson Enrique Razon Jr. said. Razon added that Prime Infra, Shell, and Udenna are working closely to ensure the smooth transition of Malampaya operations from SPEX to Prime Exploration. By Kris Crismundo   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - July 28, 2022

Time for PH to tap nuclear power source

Photo credit: IHS Markit Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Tuesday he will fully support the plan of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to explore the country’s potentials on nuclear energy as a cheap and reliable source. Marcos said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday that if the country wants to attract investors, both local and foreign, energy-level production must be increased. "Why not? We are one of the few countries that have not looked at the nuclear option in Southeast Asia. The countries that are developing nuclear power in Asia -- Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, even Singapore, are looking at the nuclear option, smaller nuclear power plants, and even Myanmar. We're already left behind," Zubiri said in an interview with a news channel. Despite being a renewable energy advocate, as evidenced by the Renewable Energy Act which he authored, Zubiri admitted that there are not enough efforts to produce the energy requirement the country needs over the next six years. "If you want to have an 8-percent GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rate, we better have an energy sector that is robust, that can deliver the power the different industries need to be able to power other programs and projects," he said. A nuclear power plant, Zubiri said, might take six years to develop starting from its infancy, but can deliver thousands of megawatts from a single plant. He said the facility must be built right, strong enough to withstand calamities, and away from earthquake faults. Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, a known environmentalist, said she is open to exploring the possibility of nuclear energy but it must be considered "clean energy". "I may not be an expert in nuclear energy. I am open to hearing discussions and consultations with various stakeholders and experts in science on nuclear energy. I have read that nuclear energy is said to be clean. However, what about the nuclear waste? I am interested to know how it will be handled. At the same time, the safety measures," she said. Senator Francis Tolentino is likewise in favor of nuclear energy, which he learned has zero emission. "President Marcos’ notion is that nuclear energy will provide greater means of support in uplifting the lives of our countrymen," he said. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to brief legislators on whether nuclear energy must be injected in the country’s energy mix, especially in light of climate change. “We should request the Department of Energy to brief us, because that is a large sum of money to study the possibility, the risk, and the opportunities, the benefits to consumers and we have not seen the report of that study. To support the scientific-based approach, that study should be scientific and should be in the hands of the legislators because that would be a guiding document for us,” Gatchalian said, referring to the million-peso budget spent for studies. In his SONA, Marcos said he believes it is time to reexamine the country's strategy toward building nuclear power plants. He said it should be compliant with the regulations of the International Atomic Agency Regulations for Nuclear Power Plants which has been strengthened after the Fukushima Daiichi incident in Japan in 2011. Following a major earthquake, a 15-meter tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three reactors. According to the World Nuclear Association, there have been no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident but over 100,000 people were evacuated as a preventative measure. Official figures showed 2,313 disaster-related deaths among evacuees, in addition to the about 19,500 that were killed by the earthquake or tsunami.    Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - July 28, 2022

France keen to help PH develop nuclear energy

Photo credit: Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia - French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz The French government is keen to help the Philippines develop its nuclear power program as the Marcos administration looks for other reliable sources of energy. French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz said the embassy has met with some of the Cabinet members and nuclear power was listed among the key areas Paris and Manila could cooperate on. "(T)here's obviously an interest. As I said, we have an experience and expertise in many different sectors of renewable energy, including the nuclear sector," Boccoz said at a reception in Makati City on Tuesday. She said working on small modular reactors is "probably much more realistic" than reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. "I think that this is a thing of the past because the technologies have evolved so much that it wouldn't really make sense to work to build this kind of project and it's probably too big and it probably needs too much of the grid to be operational," she added. "So having a sort of more modular systems is probably much more realistic and also in terms of the terrain here and the systemic risks and others. These are much smaller units that can be much more easily protected." Boccoz, meanwhile, clarified that talks are still in the "very early stages" as Manila has to put in place a framework first. In his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sought to re-examine the country's strategy towards building nuclear power plants in the Philippines. "We will comply of course with the International Atomic Energy Agency regulations for nuclear power plants as they have been strengthened after Fukushima. In the area of nuclear power, there have been new technologies developed that allow smaller-scale modular nuclear plants and other derivations thereof," he said. "Once again, PPPs (public-private partnerships) will play a part in support as funding in this period is limited." France generates about 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants but plans to reduce this to 50 percent by 2035 as its shifts to more renewables, such as solar and wind. Besides nuclear, Boccoz said, France is also beginning to have discussions on hydrogen and other renewable energy sources with the new administration. By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - July 28, 2022

China ready to restart oil exploration talks with PH 'anytime'

Photo credit: Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Republic of the Philippines - Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian China is ready to restart talks on oil and gas exploration with the Philippines as soon as the latter gives the go signal, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said Wednesday. "In the field of energy, we hope that we will continue to work on oil and gas cooperation. (W)e hope we start that negotiation and find some solution for the benefits of our two peoples to meet the need or the demand of energy of this country and China," he told reporters in Pasay City. "I think with the new administration in place, we are ready to restart our negotiation anytime." At the same time, Huang said Beijing is open to working with Manila as it shifts to renewables. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on joint oil and gas development in the West Philippines Sea in November 2018. After three years of negotiations, the Philippines terminated the talks, citing possible issues with the Constitution just before former president Rodrigo Duterte stepped down from office. In addition, the envoy said the two nations must also "work harder" on developing clean energy as a means of addressing the climate crisis. "Last year, the export of electric vehicles of China accounts for more than half of the world's. We are one of the leading players in terms of clean energy and so we are ready to work with this country to share our technology, share our expertise to move forward hand-in-hand," he said. By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - July 22, 2022

Resumption of PH-China talks for joint energy exploration urged

Photo credit:  Senator Robinhood Padilla filed a resolution, urging President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to resume bilateral talks for cooperation on oil-gas development in the West Philippine Sea. Padilla said on Thursday Senate Resolution 9 aims to address the problems caused by the rising prices of oil due to international circumstances like the Russia-Ukraine conflict. "Now therefore, be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved, urging President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to resume the bilateral talks with the People's Republic of China for the purposes of cooperation on oil and gas development in the West Philippine Sea," SR 9 read, citing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development between the Philippines and China on Nov. 20, 2018. The Philippines, SR 9 added, requires a long-term strategy to resolve its oil dependency on foreign sources as the country is vulnerable to the negative effect of the increased oil prices. "The parties further understand that the MOU shall not be prejudicial to 'respective legal positions' which 'does not create rights or obligations under international or domestic law' and as such, there is no derogation of the Philippines' assertion of its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea," the resolution said. Padilla said in the resolution that the execution of the MOU is a "valid exercise of the executive powers of the President" under Sec. 1, Art. VII of the Constitution. Meanwhile, he said Sec. 2 Art. XII of the Constitution allows the Philippines to "directly undertake to or enter into co-production, joint venture or production-sharing agreements on petroleum and other mineral oils and all forces of potential energy." "The new administration has the opportunity to resume the bilateral talks with the People's Republic of China (PRC) for purposes of cooperation in the WPS on gas and oil development without bargaining the sovereign rights of the Philippines on the disputed territories therein," Padilla said. "In view of the gains obtained from the MOU where the GRP [Government of the Republic of the Philippines] and PRC cooperated on the terms provided therein on the gas and oil development in the WPS, the new administration can further explore these common interests of cooperation to resolve the country's oil dependency from foreign countries," he added. Like Senators Grace Poe and Aquilino Pimentel III, Padilla also is amenable to the suspension of excise taxes on unleaded premium gas, regular gas, and diesel oil, to address the effects of rising oil prices. Through Senate Bill 229, Padilla seeks to amend Section 148 of the National Internal Revenue Code, in which the excise tax for oil products will be automatically suspended if the average Dubai crude oil price based on the Mean of Platts Singapore will reach or exceed USD80 per barrel in three months. By Wilnard Bacelonia   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - July 18, 2022

Adobo: Better days ahead for environment with Loyzaga as DENR head

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) welcomed the nomination of Ma. Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga as its new secretary under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. DENR OIC Secretary Ernesto D. Adobo Jr. expressed optimism over Yulo-Loyzaga’s nomination, as he envisions a more climate-resilient Philippines under her leadership. “The DENR family looks forward to the effective and efficient implementation of the Department’s mandate under the new Secretary’s leadership. With her expertise and competence in climate and disaster resilience, I see better days ahead for the environment and for the Filipino people,” Adobo, also the DENR Undersecretary for Legal, Administration, Human Resources and Legislative Affairs, said in a news release on Sunday. He said the previous DENR administration ended with significant achievements in its programs on solid waste management, biodiversity, rehabilitation of Boracay Island and Manila Bay, and restoration of heavily silted rivers under the Task Force Build Back Better. “We assure the new Secretary that she has our full support. We will work with her for the effective implementation of environmental laws, programs, and projects under the new administration,” Adobo said. Adobo pointed out that the environment is still faced with several challenges, such as disasters caused by climate change, environmental pollution, illegal wildlife activities, and various issues on land, mining, biodiversity loss and forestry. He said these issues have to be addressed not just by the DENR with Yulo-Loyzaga as its new secretary, but by everyone being part of the solution. Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles announced the nomination of Yulo-Loyzaga as the next DENR chief on July 12. Known for her expertise in climate and disaster resilience, Yulo-Loyzaga has experience in leading and working with the National Resilience Council, Manila Observatory, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and General Staff College. With the environmental expertise of Yulo-Loyzaga and support of President Marcos in prioritizing climate change issues, Adobo said he is certain that climate actions will be strengthened and that the compliance of the Philippines to the Paris Agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will be fulfilled. As the new DENR Secretary, Yulo-Loyzaga is tasked to uphold the Agency’s mandate that aims for the conservation, management, development, and sustainable use of the country’s ecosystems and natural resources.

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Philippine Resources - July 18, 2022

“A step closer towards a mineral industry that is not only prosperous but also socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.”

That is how, Dr. Rogel A. Santos, the OIC-Chief of the Marine Geological Survey Division (MGSD) of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) recounted the seminar-workshop that was held on June 6-8, 2022 at Subic Bay Travelers Hotel in Subic Bay, Zambales. The seminar-workshop: “Application of Marine Geophysics and Ecosystem Studies on the Development of Guidelines for Offshore Mining Monitoring” is spearheaded by the Marine Mineral Exploration Section (MMES) of MGSD which is also headed by Dr. Santos, as the section chief. The event brought together the different offshore mining companies and several experts from various government agencies and the academe including the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), MGB, Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI), and the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS) to achieve one goalꟷ to kickstart the formulation of guidelines for monitoring and regulating of the offshore mineral extraction activities in the country. On December 2020, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) permitted the first large scale offshore mining activity in the Philippines. And since then, the number of mining permits and applications submitted to MGB have been growing, showing that there is a dramatic increase in interest on the mining of mineral resources offshore, whether due to accelerating demand for raw materials or decline of terrestrial mineral resources. However, as the offshore mining and exploration of marine resources is relatively new in the country, there is a growing public concern on its possible impact to the environment and the coasts that could put the livelihood of the coastal populace at stake. According to Atty. Wilfredo G. Moncano, the MGB Director, on his welcome remarks, the seminar-workshop is timely as it aims to establish a common ground on which offshore mineral extraction operations are monitored and regulated by developing a comprehensive set of guidelines on marine mineral exploration, extraction, and reporting. He also added that, “These guidelines will ensure that the conduct of offshore mining and exploration activities is acceptable and beneficial to all its stakeholders, the government, and the environment.” Likewise, the first two days of the seminar-workshop was particularly allotted for the presentations and discussion of the possible impacts of offshore mining to the environment and the coastal zones and how to monitor and manage these impacts. For the first day of the seminar, seafloor mapping and marine exploration as well as the introduction of seismic methods and its offshore marine exploration applications was featured in the presentation of Dr. Leo T. Armada of UP-NIGS. A comprehensive science-based guidelines and monitoring program in order to effectively manage the environmental impacts of offshore mining was elaborated by the UP-MSI as represented by Dr. Charina Amedo-Repollo, Dr. Michael Atrigenio, & Dr. Michael Roleda. The BMB-Coastal and Marine Division, on the other hand, discussed the potential impacts of offshore mining in marine ecosystem including their suggested monitoring system of the offshore activity. While the MGB- Mine Safety, Environment, and Social Development Division tackled the adaptation of the suggested Monitoring Checklist and Multipartite Monitoring Team on mining areas in the Philippines. A major concern throughout the session is the potential effect of the turbidity brought by the offshore mining or dredging operations that could spread and harm the marine flora and fauna. On the second day, the different participating companies and government agencies such as the VIL Mines-Boskalis (San Nicholas Shoal Project), PRA-Boskalis (Manila Bay Reclamation Project), Peniel Resources, and JDVC shared their offshore mining or exploration practices and activities. Relevant technologies for offshore activities were also featured during this session by the Scan Marine Inc., and the Sea and Land Technologies (SALT).   A highlight of this session is the “Green Valve Technology”introduced by Boskalis which according to them could reduce the turbidity caused by the dredging operations. The Coastal and Offshore Geological Section (COGGS) of MGSD stressed the importance of the establishment of baseline data through physical coastal vulnerability assessment and determination of closure depth, the depth where sediment transport and morphodynamic process is very limited or inactive. They also emphasized that offshore dredging /mining activities can impact the coast, hence, effective strategies to reduce these impacts should be considered. Moreover, brief discussions on the offshore mining tenements and the offshore mining Guidelines in the Philippines were also highlighted during this session as presented by the Mining Tenements Management Division and the Mining Technology Division of the MGB respectively. Summing up the seminar, an overview of the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code (PMRC) 2020 and the reporting standard for marine mineral exploration with reference to the PMRC 2020 was presented by the PMRC Committee represented by Mr. George Baquiran and Dr. Rogel A. Santos, on the third day. The workshop plenary ended with the finalization of the draft of the checklist and guidelines for Marine Mineral exploration and Mining and reporting Standard for offshore Exploration that was led by the MGSD-MMES. To cap the three-day activity, the RPS Explorer was opened to participants for an observation tour.  Participants were shown of the basic function of the vessel with the sampling and data gathering procedures briefly discussed by the technical staff of the MGSD. With the recently conducted seminar regarding the Development of Guidelines for Offshore Mining Monitoring, the MGSD team is looking forward to the final development of these guidelines as these would serve as commutuality among others on the responsible monitoring and regulation of offshore mineral exploration and mining.

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Philippine Resources - July 13, 2022

Marcos nominates Toni Yulo-Loyzaga as DENR Secretary

Photo credit: CNN Philippines - Toni Yulo-Loyzaga Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles on Tuesday announced the nomination of Ma. Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “The President has nominated Ms. Ma. Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga as Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources. Her nomination will still be subject to the fulfilment of the required documents,” Angeles said. Yulo-Loyzaga was chairperson of the International Advisory Board of the Manila Observatory where she advocated for more scientific research on climate and disaster resilience. She was also the Manila Observatory’s executive director and technical adviser of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation. Yulo-Loyzaga is also on the Senior Advisory Board of the AFP’s Command and General Staff College. On Monday, Angeles said Atty. Raphael Perpetuo Lotilla has been nominated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the secretary of the Department of Energy “pending the clarification of his employment status.” Lotilla is currently an independent director of Aboitiz Power and the power firm ENEXOR. Angeles said Section 8 of Republic Act 7638 or the Act Creating the Department of Energy provides that “No officer, external auditor, accountant or legal counsel of any private company or enterprise primarily engaged in the energy industry shall be eliglble for appointment as Secretary within two (2) years from his retirement, resignation or separation therefrom.” “Thus while the matter is reviewed to determine whether an independent director is considered an officer of the company, Lotilla is considered a nominee,” Angeles said. Lotilla was Energy Secretary under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from 2005-2007. He was also Deputy Director General of the National Economic Development Authority. Lotilla was also President of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation or PSALM, the government corporation tasked to manage the privatization of power generation assets, independent power producers contracts and other non-power assets, including the management of financial obligations and stranded contract costs of the state-owned National Power Corporation.   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - July 07, 2022

Nickel Asia unit forges joint venture with Shell to raise renewable energy capacity

Photo: (Standing L-R): Aditya Gupta, Shell Business Opportunity Manager; Sriram Madapura, Shell Head of Renewable Power Development, Asia-Pacific; Jasmine Choo, Shell Vice-President for Onshore Power, Asia; Thomas Brostrom, Shell Executive Vice-President, Renewable Generation; Martin Antonio Zamora, EPI Chairperson; Lorelie Quiambao Osial, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Ronaldo Ibasco, EPI President and Chief Executive Officer. Credit: Shell Philippines Emerging Power Inc. (EPI), the renewable energy subsidiary of natural resources development company Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), signed an agreement with Shell Overseas Investments B.V. (Shell) to jointly develop, own, operate, and maintain onshore renewable energy projects in the Philippines. The EPI-Shell venture is targeting 1 gigawatt (GW) by 2028 with ambitions to contribute up to 3 GW into the country’s renewable capacity by initially rolling out a series of projects in Luzon and Visayas. The focus will be on utility scale solar photovoltaic (PV) while evaluating opportunities in onshore wind and energy storage systems. Based on industry data, a gigawatt of solar PV can supply the annual daytime consumption of over 1.2 million homes in the country. A Filipino household typically consumes 200 kilowatt-hours a month1 . “The joint venture has the full support of EPI’s parent company, NAC. This partnership would allow both companies to boost the supply of renewable energy in the Philippines and is in line with NAC’s vision to become the premier ESG investment in the country,” NAC President and CEO Martin Antonio G. Zamora said. “Working with partners and developing new collaborations is key to accelerate the energy transition. This Shell-EPI partnership will leverage on Shell’s technical expertise and integrated solutions as a global energy company and EPI’s strong presence in the Philippines. Together, we can power progress for the Philippines through sustainable energy for industries and homes,” said Lorelie Q. Osial, Country Chair of the Shell Companies in the Philippines. This joint venture is an opportunity to provide integrated value to customers through exploring synergies with retail electricity supplier Shell Energy Philippines, Inc.   Article courtesy of the Philippine Stock Exchange

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Philippine Resources - July 01, 2022

Sampulna cites need for more mineral processing plants to boost PH production

Photo credit: DENR - Mr. Jim O. Sampulna Former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna pushed for the establishment of more mineral processing plants and utilization of rare earth deposits to help increase the country’s mineral production and revenue generation. “Mineral processing plants make the mined mineral ready to use for application. For example, limestone, if processed, will become cement, which is ready to use for construction,” Sampulna cited. “If we have more of these plants and more minerals will be processed in the country, then its value will increase even more than 100 percent, and lesser raw materials will be shipped out to other countries, like Japan or China,” he said. The DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau has so far issued 108 mineral processing permits, most of which are for construction materials. Likewise, Sampulna proposed the identification of rare earth elements (REEs), such as scandium and yttrium, in operating mines. Sampulna, who was the former DENR undersecretary for mining, said that these metals are essential parts for many high-technology devices. “The Philippines is conducive to these minerals. It could contribute to the national government through the identification and utilization of these commodities. To date, there are only a few operating mines which have identified REEs,” he said. Sampulna cited that a proposed iron mineral processing plant in Zamboanga had its groundbreaking ceremony on June 18, to support the DENR’s initiatives toward self-utilization of mineral commodities in the country. “We hope that investors will push for the opening of more processing plants in the Philippines,” he said. He also assured Filipinos that the DENR will continue to strengthen its regulation and monitoring of mining operations to ensure sustainable and responsible mineral production in the country.   Article courtesy of Department of Environment and Natural Resources

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Philippine Resources - June 29, 2022

DENR Awards MGB with Plaque of Appreciation for the Success of the Boracay Island Rehabilitation

Photo: The MGB Boracay Island Rehabilitation Team together with former DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu Four years after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) spearheaded the rehabilitation of the Boracay Island, the DENR Acting Secretary and Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) Chair Jim O. Sampulna CESO I awarded the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) a Plaque of Appreciation for its valuable contribution to the success of the Boracay Island Rehabilitation during the BIATF’s culminating event on June 16, 2022. Boracay Island is one of the most developed and densely populated karstic islands in the Philippines. The extensive alteration of its natural landscape, as well as the alleged discharge of wastewater into the sea, posed a major environmental concern, prompting its temporary closure on April 26, 2018. The BIATF then launched the rehabilitation of Boracay island to safeguard its sustainable development. As part of the BIATF, the MGB team, led by Lands Geological Survey Division (LGSD) Chief Liza Socorro J. Manzano, was composed of technical personnel from the LGSD of MGB Central Office and the Geosciences Division of MGB Regional Office No. VI. The team conducted studies on hydrogeology, coastal geohazards, karst subsidence hazard, and geophysical investigations using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and georesistivity.   The highly specialized studies sought to provide a holistic understanding of the island’s karstology and the impacts of tourism development to ensure that the rehabilitation efforts of the government are predicated on the ecological sustainability of the small island karst. Ultimately, the results of the GPR investigation on pipes discreetly disposing wastewater and polluting the seawater of Boracay which resulted in the discovery of their existence and eventual dismantling of the same is a "game-changer" relative to the implementation of science-based strategies and crafting of policies for appropriate wastewater and solid waste management in the island.    Article courtesy of the MGB

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Philippine Resources - June 27, 2022

China seeks revival of oil dev't talks with Marcos admin

Photo credit: Inquirer Philippines Beijing is ready to revive the negotiations on joint oil exploration and development with Manila under the Marcos administration. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin, in a presser on Friday, said joint offshore oil and gas development is the "right way for China and the Philippines" to manage maritime differences and achieve win-win results without prejudicing either side’s maritime positions and claims. "China stands ready to work in concert with the new Philippine government to advance negotiations on joint development and strive to take early substantive steps so as to deliver tangible benefits to both countries and peoples," he said. "Leaders of the two countries reached important common understanding on this. The two governments signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation (MOU) on Oil and Gas Development and have actively pursued negotiations and made important progress within this framework," he added. The MOU, signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the Philippines in November 2018, is the basis for the two nations to “negotiate on an accelerated basis arrangement to facilitate oil and gas exploration and exploitation" in the West Philippine Sea consistent with applicable rules of international law. On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. revealed that the Philippines initiated the termination of the three-year negotiations. He said the talks went as far as constitutionally possible but another step forward would have risked a constitutional crisis. By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - June 24, 2022

PEZA, DENR identify 7 new lands for ecozone dev’t

Photo credit: CEO Magazine - PEZA Director General Charito Plaza The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have identified at least seven new locations in Mindanao as viable lands for economic zone development. In a statement Thursday, PEZA said these lands viable for agro-industrial, agro-forestry, mineral processing, and eco-tourism are located in the Caraga Region. It said four of the proposed special economic zones will be located in Agusan del Norte, and one each in Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur. "We aim to restore back the once major industry of wood and put order in the utilization of the raw minerals processed into many other products in Caraga, which has the biggest timber and mining lands," PEZA Director General Charito Plaza said. The PEZA currently has 23 agro-industrial zones across the country. These newly identified lands for development are offshoot of the memorandum of understanding between PEZA and DENR signed last May that aims to spur economic growth in the countryside. "Under the MOU, PEZA and DENR have agreed to pursue the establishment of special ecozones in potential areas within the jurisdiction of the DENR that are suitable for development as agro-industrial, agro-forestry, mineral processing, and eco-tourism. We hope to truly implement these partnerships in the coming years under the administration of President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr.," Plaza said.    Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - June 16, 2022

Metals, engineering industry crucial in PH recovery: DOST exec

The metals and engineering industry has contributed much to the country's recovery efforts, an official of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Wednesday. "We can never disregard the contribution of the industry. We owe it to the metals industry to celebrate milestones and special accomplishments for without you, upstream industries will weaken," said DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara during the 1st National Metals and Engineering Conference held in Bicutan, Taguig City. The metals industry has played a huge role in helping the country rise from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, she pointed out. Guevara cited as an example the mass production and distribution of face shields for front-liners at the onset of the pandemic. The Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) did this through the plastic injection molding technology. "The face shields, which were too costly because there was not enough supply at that time, were distributed all over the country through this MIRDC initiative," she said. Another contribution was the use of the Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT) to ferry front-liners to and from work in Cauayan, Isabela, for free. HERT is an alternative mass transportation designed and developed by the MIRDC. It was already turned over to the city of Cauayan. Currently, present, Cauayan and Ilagan cities have plans to fabricate new HERT units to be used as mass transportation alternatives. (Read: Ilagan City to fabricate hybrid road train) Last year, the DOST launched two facilities at the MIRDC: the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCen) and the Advanced Mechatronics, Robotics, and Industrial Automation Laboratory (AMERIAL). Both facilities feature industry 4.0 technologies. "Through the AMCen and the AMERIAL, we are already able to serve MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and the academe. We started to encourage the establishment of partnerships that advocate R&D (research and development)," Guevara said. The agency, according to her, has been providing an enabling environment to let researchers access modern technologies and unleash their innovative ideas. Guevara called on researchers to o continuously engage in R&D, scientific paper writing, and research presentations. "We can be like highly developed countries through R&D," she said as she emphasized that R&D is a powerful driver behind a successful metals industry. Meanwhile, Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) executive director Enrico Paringit said the industry must also consider harnessing emerging technologies to make the industry more competitive. Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are among the emerging technologies, aside from additive manufacturing, sensors, quantum computing, virtual reality, etc. The DOST targets to broaden the curriculum on AI and conduct training programs to upskill the workforce on AI, he said.   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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