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Philippine Resources - November 13, 2020

FNI Commits Nickel Shipment for 2021

Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. (FNI) has promised Baosteel Resources International Co. Ltd to ship as much as 1.3 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore next year.A wholly subsidiary of top Chinese steel manufacturing corporation China Baowu Steel Group, Baosteel is engaged in the business of mineral resource investment, logistics services, and trading. The company highly focuses on the trading of metallurgic raw material - with an annual volume of over 60 million tons which cover ore, iron, alloys, coal, non-ferrous metals, ferrous scraps, metallurgical flux, among others. For next year, half of the shipment of FNI to Baosteel will consist of low-grade nickel ore with 49 per cent iron content and 0.90 per cent nickel content. The rest consists of medium to high-grade nickel ore with 15 per cent to 25 per cent iron content, and 1.30 per cent to 1.80 per cent nickel content.As a side note, China, the Philippines’ top market for nickel, was where the coronavirus began.FNI said that as per agreement with Baosteel, 1 million WMT in 2020 has expanded to 1.3 million WMT for the 2021 mining season. According to FNI President Dante R. Bravo, this is on the back of the “quick economic recovery in China”.“Against other countries, China was able to respond well to this pandemic and manage its economy in an unprecedented manner. The economic growth in China will further accelerate in the coming year as there are recent announcements that [COVID-19] vaccine would soon be available. Given those prospects, we are very bullish in the nickel space,” Bravo said.Furthermore, nickel mining firms may book higher earnings based on improved world prices. “In 2019, we exported 40 million to 45 million WMT. The [initial] expectation is it will be lower for this year, but considering that the nickel mining prices, which is through the roof, I hope nickel mines will take advantage of the prices. The same volume is possible this year,” Alcantara, who also serves as the president of nickel mining firm Marcventures Holdings, Inc., added.He added that the industry could have a more positive outlook next year, based on the positive economy of China.

Mining

Philippine Resources - November 13, 2020

Foreign Firms Look Into PH Mines

With the government considering the Philippine mining industry as a major contributor to economic recovery, both local and international firms are now revisiting their prospects because this industry has not been impacted much by the current pandemic. According to Philippine Mining and Exploration Association (PMEA) President Joey Ayson, “We have a number of foreign companies looking at the Philippines right now. They believe that most companies have weathered the storm of COVID.”He noted that while more investments in mining would help the economy, the market is just waiting for some policy changes to attract more investors. “Metal prices have gone up and what most companies are doing right now is that they are revisiting strategies in light of COVID,” Ayson said. “We have the chance to walk the talk as mining is one of the industries that will provide revenues post-pandemic,” he said.Meanwhile, Mines and Geosciences Bureau director Wilfredo Moncano said the government is continuously looking for ways to help the economy, including supporting mines. “We are also targeting new approvals of MPSA (mineral production sharing agreement) provided there will be a support to amend EO 79, as well as those suspended mines to resume operations,” he said.He added that the MGB is looking at the renewal of pending applications under the Office of the President and the Minahang Bayan approvals. Executive Order 79 also put a moratorium on new mineral agreements pending a new fiscal regime in the mining industry. For Ayson, the government should look at EO 79 and the existing ban on open-pit mining. “We just need a little bit more push right now, policies need to be revised and looked at,” he said.Furthermore, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines executive director Ronald Recidoro said the same thing.“We have trillions of pesos of resources underground. This is the last card of the government to help recover. We need to revive the industry and we need to do it right,” he said. “And I think we are on the right track, the moratorium has been there for 10 years now and since then, the industry has been improving standards, transparency and environmental protection.”

Mining

Philippine Resources - November 12, 2020

Nickel Asia Income Rises

In spite of the pandemic, the country’s largest producer of lateritic nickel Listed Nickel Asia Corp. saw an increase of its net income by 18 per cent to P3.13 billion on improved global market conditions. This was for a period of nine months. In a regulatory filing, Nickel Asia said earnings before tax, interest, amortization, and depreciation increased to 24 per cent to P5.93 billion while revenues climbed up to 11 per cent to P15.11 billion.The growth of the business was attributed to the improved ore export costs, especially during the third quarter, on the back of a recovery in the Chinese stainless steel market.“A strong rise in ore prices was more than enough to offset the drop in shipment volumes during the first nine months,” Nickel Asia president and CEO Martin Zamora said. “We remain cautiously optimistic our shipment volumes for the year will come close to the levels we had in 2019. Weather conditions in the southern part of the country, where three of our mines are located, have been favourable, allowing for an extended shipment season,” he said.In general, Nickel Asia was able to sell an aggregate 14.03 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore, as compared to the 15.29 million WMT sold in 2019.When it comes to costs, the company realized an average of $5.99 per pound of payable nickel on its shipments, lower than the average price of $6.06 per pound of payable nickel in 2019. Meanwhile, the export sales came off better at $30.06 per WMT as a strong recovery in ore export prices, following the Indonesian ore export ban which took effect in January this year.On a mixed basis, the average price for both sales of ore exports and ore deliveries totalled $19.76 per WMT compared to $16.03 per WMT last year.

Mining

Philippine Resources - November 12, 2020

Atlas Mining Grows Net Income

In the third quarter, Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. reported a net income of P490 million, a welcome figure from its P45 million loss last year during the same time. According to the company, this was due to the important increases in gold volume, sustained stability of its production and operations, an increase in metal prices and the decrease in operating costs.“The return to profitability of Atlas Mining has validated the strategies that were diligently implemented over recent years. We have focused on stabilizing operations and sustaining efficiencies by investing in maintenance, safety and optimizing our mine plan that resulted in sustained higher volumes of production and lower cost per pound of copper,” Atlas Mining President Adrian Ramos said. “This has positioned our company not only to withstand any downturn in the commodities market but also to maximize earnings when metal prices improve as we have experienced this year.”Wholly owned subsidiary Carmen Copper Corp. was able to increase its copper production to 81.62 million pounds from 81.54 lb year-on-year. Gold production also increased by 25 per cent to 35,814 ounces from 28,704 oz.Atlas Mining credited the improved copper output on higher tonnage milled and gold production on higher realized gold grades. Milling tonnage increased to 13.73 million tonnes, which is 5 per cent higher than 13.07 million tonnes last year. Meanwhile, the copper metal content of concentrate shipped went down by 4 per cent to 79.77 million lb and gold content increased to 19 per cent to 31,821 oz due to higher gold grade.This increase that began in June continued until the third quarter when the cost of copper went up by 20 per cent to $2.97/lb as compared to the six-month realized average price of $2.47/lb. In addition, the price of gold also increased to 16 per cent to $1,905/oz, against the six-month average of $1,647.Focused on the metallic mineral exploration and mining, Atlas Mining operates the nickel laterite mining project of Berong Nickel Corp. in Palawan province and the Toledo copper mine in Cebu province. Presently, Atlas Mining shares increased to 14 centavos or 3.28 per cent to come out with P4.41 apiece.

Mining

Philippine Resources - November 10, 2020

COMP Opposes Royalties

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), the country’s biggest group of mining companies, has opposed the recommendation of the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Commission of Audit (COA) to foist royalties on mining projects outside of the mineral reservation areas (MRAs). COMP released its statement after the COA reiterated its proposal to amend the country’s tax and mining laws. According to Rocky Dimaculangan, COMP vice president for communications, “Imposing additional royalties on Philippine mining projects outside [MRAs] such as that being proposed will stunt the industry’s growth and will only provide additional revenues in the near term, which we believe is shortsighted. He added, “It will make the Philippine mining industry uncompetitive and will deter investors from coming in, thus preventing foreign capital influx and other socio-economic benefits, such as the development of the countryside where minerals are abundant, and employment for people in rural areas.”Presently, royalties are charged only for mining operations within MRAs - there are more than 10 in the country - since the government spends a substantial amount for these areas. With this COMP believes that the royalties should not be imposed on areas outside the MRAs. Dimaculanguan said the government could instead “take a hard look” at small-scale miners. “The portion of the small-scale mining sector in the country that is unregulated produces far more gold than the legitimate large-scale mining industry—yet this sector does not pay taxes and, for the most part, its output is not captured, which could otherwise form part of the country’s international reserves,” he said. For its part, COA said that the government has lost over P55 billion in “supposed taxes” in the past decade as these laws do not cover the country’s tax and mining laws. The agency said that these amounts could have been collected if the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) had been amended - which also urged the collection of royalties outside the MRAs. “The opportunity losses and/or forgone revenues from non-imposition of royalty fee to mining companies operating outside the MRAs will continue to surge until the bill seeking … the amendment of Section 151 of the NIRC will be passed into law,” the COA said. “The supposed taxes that could have been collected had the bill been passed and signed into law can be used by the government to finance its priority programs and projects, especially in this time of financial crisis due to the pandemic.”The Senate also has pending bills to amend the NIRC. On the other hand, the DOF has appealed to the Senate to pass its original proposal of a rate of 5 per cent for all mining operations. State auditors have found out, furthermore, that this proposal seemed “advantageous” to the government and have recommended that the MGB should “support the stand of the DOF” and “make representations with the Senate to help in the early passage of the bill into law so that taxes can be collected when imposed for the benefit of our country and the people, when necessary.”

Mining

Philippine Resources - November 04, 2020

NCIP Gives the Green Light for SMI Project

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has lit the green light for Sagittarius Mines Inc.(SMI).According to Bae Dalena Samling, chieftain of the Danlag Tribal Council, this is in connection to the company extracting untapped copper and gold found in ancestral lands of the B’laan people. In a summit, she showed the Certification Precondition (CP) given by NCIP to SMI, which means that the site affected and covered by any application for license or lease, concession or production-sharing agreement do not overlay with any ancestral domain area of any indigenous cultural community.Samling applauded the NCIP issuance, adding that the negotiation between SMI and the B`laan tribal community took 10 years. Under this deal, the IP group permitted SMI to undertake this project on the condition that they treat the tribe with the utmost honour, and that they practice sustainable mining activities. The biggest stalled mining project in the Philippines, the Tampakan project is located at the intersection of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Davao del Sur, and Sarangani. Since 2010, the project has been put on hold because the government unit of South Cotabato banned open-pit mining in the area. The ban is now the main hindrance to this project, on top of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of the Municipality of Tampakan terminating its municipal agreement with SMI. SMI said on its website that if this is developed, the Tampakan project “has the potential to make a significant contribution to the economic prosperity of the Philippines and enable a better future for the people of southern Mindanao.”

Mining

Philippine Resources - October 30, 2020

Philex Reopens at 50 Percent Capacity

After its temporary suspension due to measures avoiding the spread of COVID-19 within the mine site, Philex Mining Corporation is back to work again but with 50 per cent operational capacity. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Philex said that it expects that in the next three days, operational capacity can jump up to 90 per cent. This comes after 779 employees tested negative to the swab tests and 8 patients have finally recovered from 151 total positive cases, bringing the total of active cases to 143, which consists of the employees and the community. Most of the affected employees come from underground operations, and management has implemented health standards, safety protocols, as well as contact tracing. The mine site also has quarantine facilities for those affected, and total bed capacity is at 135 which will rise to 200 in the next coming days. The management has also implemented stringent measures to contain the spread of the virus. Among its ways include the proper wearing and disposal of face masks and shields, social distancing, curfew, strict disinfection and procedure at the gate, and other disinfection activities.

Mining

Philippine Resources - October 27, 2020

DOF Forms Team to Make Mining Site Active Again

The Department of Finance (DOF) is forming an interagency team to look at how mining assets can be privatized given the many legal issues surrounding these. According to DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the team is composed of representatives from the DOF, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Privatization and Management Office (PMO) and the office of the Solicitor-General. Among these idle mining sites include the copper-gold project of the Maricalum Mining Corp. in Negros Occidental, the nickel mines of the Nonoc Mining and Industrial Corp. (Nonoc Mining) in Surigao del Norte and the gold- and copper-rich North Davao Mining Property (North Davao Mining) in Davao del Norte. Others are the Basay Mining Corp. (Basay Mining) in Negros Oriental and the nickel mine once operated by the Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corp. (MMIC Bagacay Mine) in Western Samar.Dominguez said that with the revival of these mining sites, the economy can bloom which can lead to generating more revenues and more job opportunities for workers. He said that this industry “provides jobs in [rural] areas where there are no other alternative jobs” available.He said in a virtual press conference, “Definitely, we are pushing for the revival of the mining industry.”PMO said that some of these mining sites were once successful but failed to settle their debts. The government then auctioned off these firms but the highest bidder failed to fulfil his obligations - which led to decades of litigation which caused these mining sites to become idle.

Mining

Philippine Resources - October 24, 2020

Coal Fuel Still Dominates

According to the data presented by the Department of Energy, coal fuel has sustained its dominance in the power generation of the country with a share of 54.6 per cent. Following coal was natural gas with 21.2 per cent, geothermal at 10,1 per cent, oil at 3.5 per cent and renewable energy at 3.1 per cent. While total electricity generation had been higher by 6.3 per cent to 106,041 gigawatt-hours, RE-based power generation was down by 5.5 per cent to 22,044GWh. A year ago, the various RE sources such as geothermal and hydro contributed to 20.8 per cent in the power mix. Another report by the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) said that “coal and natural gas accounted for more than 75 per cent of the generation mix in 2019, while geothermal and hydro came second in providing the bulk of the overall supply.” IEMOP also added that other technologies such as RE and oil had a minimal share in the generation mix and slightly vary every quarter. Nonetheless, the spot market operator said that in the first quarter of 2019, “coal had its lowest share in the generation mix at 47.7 per cent primarily due to forced/maintenance outages of coal plants.” The same system, it said that “generation from natural gas plants had increased.”During the second quarter, while generation from coal plants increased, gas plants decreased. The third quarter saw hydro output as, “a result of the rainy season,” which often increases reservoir level at the dams.In summary, IEMOP said that “coal and natural gas still accounted for more than three-fourths of the generation mix.”

Mining

Philippine Resources - October 23, 2020

To Date, PNIA Members Have Planted Almost 7 Million Trees

As part of its environmental protection and enhancement programs, members of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) have planted 6.59 million trees covering 3,167 hectares of land. In its first eight months of the year, members have planted an additional 809,656 trees covering 322 hectares of land in Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Zamblaes, Agusan del Norte, and Palawan. In addition, PNIA members have invested more than P202 Million on these planting programs for its first eight months. Examples of trees that were planted included narra, agoho, molave, rubber, palawan cherry, golden shower, and maribuhok; and as fruit-bearing trees like coconut, rambutan, cashew, jackfruit, cacao, pineapple, coffee, and calamansi.According to PNIA President Dante Braco, there was an unprecedented growth of 13.9 per cent of the number of trees planted since 2019. “In our perspective, implementing our EPEPs is one of our ways to show the community how we value their land, waters, and environment,” Bravo said. We make it a point to improve what is already in the area and contribute to the beauty, safety, and preservation of the community. Our members do not just plant for the sake of planting just to meet the requirements of the government. We conduct research to identify which tree species will be most beneficial for the specific environment of each mine site.” The mining industry has also initiated bamboo planting even before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources mandated such a program. “Between January to August 2020, our members have planted 23,000 seedlings, bringing their total to over 46,000 bamboo seedlings planted over nearly 100 hectares,” Bravo said. “PNIA members endeavoured to sustain, if not enhance our environmental programs, ensuring we always go beyond what is mandated by the government and making sure that these programs are inclusive and beneficial for the local communities. We remain steadfast in our dedication to environmental rehabilitation and enhancement programs, even during the pandemic, and will continue with rehabilitating as we operate.”

Mining

Philippine Resources - October 16, 2020

OceanGold Corporation Lays Off Employees

Because of the many issues hounding the OceanaGold Corporation such as opposition from the local government, among other things, the Australian-Candian company has let go of as many as 496 employees and 400 people working with contractors. In a press statement, OceanaGold President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Holmes said, “Today is a sad day for the company and for the many hundreds of workers and their families. It has constrained our ability to continue operations over the past 15 months.” In mid-November, the company may lay-off another set of employees. Holmes said, “The Company has actively participated in community-led dialogue supported by the majority of village and municipal governments along with the majority of local residents in Didipio. Despite these efforts, a small group of local leaders have refused to consider access arrangements that would have preserved these jobs. We thank local employees and local government leaders for their strong support and efforts to avoid permanent layoffs, especially during this difficult time with COVID-19.”Presently, the company has a pending request for FTAA renewal with the Office of the President. Holmes said that they continue to “engage with the National Government, who express their support and endorsement of the renewal.”He added, “The Didipio operation is a world-class mine that has operated to the highest of responsible mining, environmental and social standards. With a world-class workforce that is predominantly Filipino, Didipio has had one of the best safety records globally and represents how mining can contribute to skills development, job creation and livelihood opportunities for local communities. We will work as quickly and safely as we can to rehire hundreds of workers and restart operations should the FTAA be renewed or the blockade lifted.” It can be recalled that last week, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) rejected the firm’s offer to travel the remaining ore from its suspended mine in Didipio. MGB Regional Director Mario Ancheta said the mining firm must “be held in abeyance until such time the renewal of the FTAA is granted” to the company. This, or if there is already an executive agreement between the Local Government Unit (LGU) and the company that the delivery will be allowed to pass in the established checkpoints and “ensure no untoward incident will happen”.

Mining

Philippine Resources - October 15, 2020

How mining can help PH recover from COVID-19

No business, no industry sector has been left unscathed by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, nearly a year since the COVID-19 disease was first detected in China -- and that includes mining. A recent report said that in the Philippines, as many as 138,000 jobs in the mining sector were lost during the pandemic, according to Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Wilfredo Moncano. Despite that, Moncano revealed that his bureau is seeking the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte for a mining sector program, with specific recommendations on how the extractive industries could help the economy recover from the pandemic-triggered recession. What the MGB is proposing, he said, is for the Duterte administration to allow the potential of the mining industry to help the economy recover, as the bureau submitted its sector program to the Office of the President and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, its parent agency. Asked to provide a gist of the program, Moncano told the Manila Bulletin: “It will be premature to trumpet its content when it has not yet been seen by the addressee.” “Safe to say that the mining sector proposed and believes that the mining industry sector can help during these times that there is a serious drop in economic activity because of the pandemic,” he added, noting that the memo contains recommendations from the mining sector. By now, the benefits of responsible mining are no mystery to Filipinos, as the industry has faithfully trumpeted its positive effects to the economy over the years – and especially now that the country will need every bit of reinforcement to get back to pre-pandemic levels. Businessman and columnist Peter Wallace laid out these benefits in his recent article for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. His point, at the end of his column, was: “Mining is one way to give Filipinos jobs and make some money for the government.” Wallace mentioned the following: “Large-scale mines employ lots of people. A responsible miner provides jobs for people who had none.” Of the jobs lost by the mining sector this year, MGB’s Moncano said this does not include the jobs lost from the small-scale mining industry. “Similar to other industries, the mining sector lost export production values, taxes not raised, employment losses, undelivered supplies, among others, for the three months that the mining companies were prevented from operating,” Moncano told the Bulletin. While they have been allowed to resume work now, mining companies “have to bear the strict health protocols issued by the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases],” he added. Meanwhile, Wallace said: “In 2015, an estimated 236,000 Filipinos were working in mines. This had dropped to 184,000 by 2019. I am sure the 7.3 million Filipinos unemployed as of April 2020 (a record high currently), including the estimated 4.9 million Filipinos laid off by COVID-19, would welcome getting a decent income again. And the major mining companies do pay well, as pointed out by MGB.” “While estimates vary, it is conservatively estimated that for every job in the industry, about four indirect jobs may be generated in the upstream and downstream sectors. As in tourism, there is a substantial multiplier effect. These jobs include the mining’s forest and environmental protection and rehabilitation activities that large mining firms undertake.” In economics, a multiplier effect is defined “as a phenomenon whereby a given change in a particular input, such as government spending, causes a larger change in an output, such as gross domestic product.” Large-scale responsible mines bring wealth to rural communities “where it is most needed and develop those communities,” Wallace said. He noted that according to the MGB, the mining firms’ social development and management programs currently benefit more than 800 barangays (villages). “This is something we need during the pandemic, especially with the government needing to allocate funds to other poverty alleviation and public health services programs.” A responsible miner builds rural roads. “Yes, the company uses them, but so does the community. They are local roads they never had,” Wallace said. A responsible miner “provides scholarships for deserving students, often builds a school, and establishes a clinic for all,” he said. Mines pay considerable taxes and boost a country’s international reserves through exports. “With the loss of tourists and OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) income in decline (because they have been sent home from other COVID-afflicted countries), we need all the dollars we can get,” Wallace said. “In 2016, these companies paid P22.6 billion in taxes, fees, and royalties. In 2017, the excise tax was doubled to 4 percent of gross sales, so in 2018 the total government take increased to P31.3 billion,” he added. This can go up much more “if policy restrictions are removed,” Wallace noted. “Just three pending projects, if approved, can increase total government take by P13 billion per year and add P1.3 billion annually in social expenditures. That is money not to be sneezed at for an economy that is going to desperately need more funds to finance its anti-COVID-19 measures and social protection programs.” According to MGB’s Moncano, the estimated export revenue lost during the lockdown period so far was P14.1 billion. This is money that could have gone to funding for coronavirus vaccines, quarantine centers, face masks, shields and other personal protective equipment (PPEs), disinfectants and other tools used to fight the pandemic – many sectors, not just mining, have noted. Now if the country was able to fully tap into its mineral deposits -- worth an estimated US$1.4 trillion (Php.67.74 trillion), making the Philippines the fifth-most mineral-rich country in the world – the government and the people would have a lot more resources to use for its pandemic response. Wallace noted that because of slower annual growth, mining’s contribution to GDP (gross domestic product) has slid from nearly 0.8 percent in 2016 to 0.5 percent in 2019. “Its share would have grown steadily had mining been supported,” he said. Sadly, the columnist’s words are an old refrain. Seven years ago, renowned economist Bernardo Villegas said there is more to mining “than just tax revenues and export earnings.” As founder and director of the Center for Research and Communication and member of the University of Asia and Pacific, Villegas headed a study of all the country’s major industrial sectors, and it shows that the mining industry “makes a significant contribution, not just to the Philippine economy but also to the common good.” “The common good is not just the taxes paid by mining firms but employment generation, nurturing of small and medium scale industries through the multiplier effect, and the stimulation of consumption in the communities where various establishments, whatever they are, are located,” he said in a 2013 forum sponsored by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines. Today, with the raging coronavirus disease collapsing big and small economies alike, it is obvious the Philippines needs a lot of common good – and, Inquirer’s Wallace notes, it would only take about 3 percent of Philippine land to be mined “if ALL potential mines were exploited. And it would never be ALL.” “All of this is conditioned on mining being responsibly done. This is the key and is critical, and recent rules enforce this,” he said. Thus, mining just might be the boon the Philippines needs to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic – if only the government would try.

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Mining

Philippine Resources - October 13, 2020

MGB Rejects Appeal of OGPI

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has rejected the appeal of the Australian-Canadian miner Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc (OGPI) to transfer the rest of the ore from its mine site in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. This, according to MGB Regional Director Mario Ancheta, who said in his letter to OGPI General Manager David Way, that the company must “be held in abeyance until such time the renewal of the FTAA [Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement] is granted”.Either that or if there is already an agreement between the local government unit or the company.OGPI requested after the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Kasibu municipality issued a resolution of no-objection to the application for the said OTP. In its resolution, the Kalibu SB recognizes how important the transport of copper maybe for the people of Kasibu, especially during this time of the pandemic. It can be recalled that more than a year has passed since the company’s FTAA for the Didipio underground copper and gold mine project in Nueva Vizcaya has expired. In addition, the local government unit is against the project of the OGPI. June last year saw Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla putting a stop to this project once the FTAA has expired - with barricades surrounding the area. Presently, OGPI has two ways for its operations to continue - through the approval of the Office of the President or if the LGU changes its mind on continuing the project. Meanwhile, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is all praises for this decision of the MGB, an attached agency to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). “While our alliance empathizes with the very challenging situation faced by mineworkers in the town of Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya that is hosting the mine operations, we remind both the DENR and elected local government officials that OGPI has no legal standing to operate because its mining contract is expired and has failed to secure its renewal,” ATM said. “Our alliance demands that OGPI immediately implement the Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Plan (FMRDP) and that the DENR and the LGUs are tapped to enforce and monitor its implementation.”In August, OGPI said the company has re-endorsed its application for the renewal of the FTAA. It said, “A working team created by the President [of the company] completed a review of the FTAA renewal, which included engagement with the Company, before re-endorsing the renewal to the Office of the President where it remains for a decision.” It also added that without the FTAA, the company may decide on the “on-going status of the Didipio workforce as temporary lay-offs commenced in mid-April”.

Mining

Philippine Resources - October 11, 2020

Business Community Supports Call for Reopening of Mining Operations

In response to the statement of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez calling for the reopening of mines and announcing the completion of the review of mining assets instituted by the government through the Privatization Management Office, the country’s largest business sector, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) expressed support for its revival. According to PCCI President Benedicto Yujuico, the government should have a good plan in the reopening of the mining sector. “COVID-19 has made over 4.5 million Filipinos unemployed,” he said. “The plan to revive the mining industry is very laudable essentially because of the sincere desire of our government to create and provide jobs especially those in the rural areas.”

Mining

Philippine Resources - October 09, 2020

Mining Operations May Continue says Finance Secretary

To raise additional income, the Philippine government is pushing for the continuation of operations of idle state-owned mining projects. This, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who said that this also includes the sale of the Nonoc nickel assets. As the government looks for ways to increase funds during this most difficult time, the Privatization and Management Office, under the agency of Dominguez, has reviewed assets that can be sold. Dominguez added that he is working closely with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to bring back the following projects - the Basay copper mine in Central Negros Oriental province, the Nonoc nickel project in Surigao del Norte province, as well as other mining assets. In a statement at a business forum. Dominguez said, “We are pushing the revival of the mining industry. The mining industry provides jobs in areas where there are no other alternative jobs.”The Nonoc mine has ceased operations since 2011 because of a looming debt of $264 million - on top of taxes - to the government. Home to more than two dozen nickel mines, the Philippines is a major supplier to China and its mostly low-grade ores are utilized to produce nickel pig iron, one of the raw materials for stainless steel.

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