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Philippine Resources - September 24, 2020

Nickel In Plants and the Potential of Phytomining

“If the nickel within these rare plants could be tapped, it would provide a sustainable source of nickel for use in electric vehicle batteries.” (Credit: Antony van der Ent)By Marcelle P. Villegas Science journalist, Dyna Rochmyaningsih, recently wrote a feature about three scientists who published their research about the existence of rare plants in Indonesia that “bleeds nickel”. Rochmyaningsih is a freelance journalist based in Deliserdang, North Sumatra. In her article “The rare plants that ‘bleed’ nickel”, published on “Future Planet” on BBC website, her introduction goes, “Rare and valuable plants that naturally ‘mine’ large quantities of nickel are thought to be hiding in Indonesia’s forests – but it is a race to discover them before they are wiped out.” [1]While it is natural for certain plants to absorb some elements present in soil, this particular science report is noteworthy because it explores the existence of “super plants”, which are yet to be discovered. A related study in the Philippines was reported a few years ago. A team of environmental scientists headed by Assistant Professor Rene Claveria of Ateneo De Manila University reported that a native fern Pteris melanocaulon has the ability to grow in soil despite high concentrations of metals. Thus, the plan is classified as a metallophyte. From their study in a copper-gold mining area, they discovered that the fern was able to accumulate copper and high levels of arsenic. Their discovery is a breakthrough and useful in helping the mining industry and the local government in the removal or prevention of soil contamination, making areas near and within mine sites suitable for other plants to grow. The study can also help prevent toxic elements from causing health problems to those living nearby. Their findings were published in international scientific journals such as International Journal of Phytoremediation in 2015 and Chemosphere in July 2019. [2]Similarly in Indonesia, a team of researchers discovered some plants that can absorb high concentrations of nickel from soil. In 2004, a soil biologist and lecturer in Tadulako University in Central Sulawesi named Aiyen Tjoa visited Sorowako. Sorowako used to have a rich biodiversity of rare plants before it became the location of one of the largest nickel mining sites in the world. However, by 2004 the area was cleared for mining and much of the green vegetation became barren soil and dusty roads [1]. There were some bushes and trees that survived the mining transformation. With that Tjoa was inspired to search and study those rare plants that adapted well in the nickel-rich environment. She noted that these could be “super plants” that have the ability to absorb high levels of nickel from the soil. If these plants can be “mined” as well, then this could be a new method of gathering nickel without destroying the ecosystem. These plants are known as nickel hyper-accumulators and are rare plants that can accumulate at least 1000 micrograms of nickel per 1g of dried leaf. Although most plants need a little bit of heavy metals to activate some essential enzymes in their flower process, too much of these metals can kill most plants. Plants that are classified as hyper-accumulators are unusual and rare due to their ability to survive despite absorbing high amounts of metals. They store nickel in their shoots, leaves, roots and sap.In Rochmyaningsih’s article in BBC, she noted, “Curiously, very few of these plants have been found in Indonesia, which is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and also has the largest nickel deposit in the world – just where you might expect to find a nickel hyper-accumulator. Tjoa says that this is largely because very few people have spent the time looking.” Finding these plants is difficult, according to Tjoa based on her experience in searching, where she funded her own explorations. She recounts that the process can be slow and frustrating.Antony van der Ent also did studies and research about nickel hyper-accumulators. He is a plant ecophysiologist from the University of Queensland. He uses a white circle of detection paper to test for nickel. “The paper instantly turns pink when leaves are pressed against it. It’s foolproof, easy to do and fast,” he says. [1]However, not all plants with nickel are hyper-accumulators. Further analysis is done to determine the level of nickel concentration a plant can tolerate. One technique is by using a hand-held device that shoots an X-ray beam at the sample, which reacts by emitting a specific amount of energy that is characteristic of nickel atoms. [1]After four years of exploration, Tjoa eventually found two species of indigenous nickel hyper-accumulators in 2008, namely: Sarcotheca celebica and Knema matanensis which could store between 1,000 and 5,000 micrograms of nickel per 1g of dried leaf.What is special about these two species is that they have shown fairly modest powers of hyperaccumulation. “We’re looking for plants that could accumulate at least 10,000 micrograms [per gram]. At that threshold, it becomes economically viable to cultivate the plant for mineral extraction – or ‘phytomining’”.Another researcher, Satria Bijaksana, a professor of rock magnetism from Bandung Institute of Technology, used magnetism as a technique that could speed up the search for these hyper-accumulator plants. He was able to connect that since most hyper-accumulator plants have high amounts of metals that are magnetic, then using magnetism in detecting hyper-accumulators might help Tjoa’s and van der Ent’s research. With this new technique, they were able to conduct a successful experiment on 10 indigenous plants in Sulawesi and Halmahera in comparison with two hyper-accumulators (Alyssum murale and Alyssum corsicum). Findings show one of the native plants was high in both iron and nickel. “No other country has a greater potential for phytomining than Indonesia,” said van der Ent.“We think using magnetism could speed up the process because it only detects high concentrations of nickel,” says Bijaksana. He also said that using this technique results in fewer false positives. The group published their study in May 2020 where they identified two further species of nickel-loving plants in Sulawesi. The species Casearia halmaherensis and another that was a type of pepper, have the ability to accumulate 2,600-2,900 micrograms in 1g of dried leaf. “While the research is still preliminary, Bijaksana hopes it could convince people to take phytomining seriously in Indonesia.” [1]-----Reference:[1] Rochmyaningsih, Dyna (26 August 2020). “The rare plants that ‘bleed’ nickel”. Future Planet, BBC.Retrieved from - https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200825-indonesia-the-plants-that-mine-poisonous-metals[2]https://www.ateneo.edu/ls/sose/environmental-science/news/features/ateneo-led-research-team-discovers-fern-absorbs-arsenic

Mining

Philippine Resources - September 24, 2020

The Tandem between Mining and Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles and battery manufacturers - Exhibitors at the 7th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit - July 2019, SMX Convention Center, Pasay City (Photo by Marcelle P. Villegas, Philippine Resources Journal)By Marcelle P. VillegasWhile most environmentalists believe that mining is bad for the environment, they somehow encourage or even demand from car manufacturers to resort to eco-friendly technologies. Thus, the emergence of electric vehicles (EV) enters the picture as the solution. EVs have less carbon emissions and use greener fuels, therefore, this will help improve the air quality on the planet. But with this trend in transportation technology, manufacturers will now require a large and steady supply of specific elements. How to acquire these elements now goes back to mining. Last July, Elon Musk, CEO and product architect of Tesla Inc. emphasised the importance of nickel and its rising demand. The American electric vehicle and clean energy company, Tesla Inc. ranked as the world’s best-selling plug-in and battery electric passenger car manufacturer in 2019. [1] Musk encourages mining companies to produce more nickel since it is the key ingredient in the manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles. He mentioned that the current cost of EV batteries remained a big hurdle to the company’s growth. [2]He stated, “Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way.” Nickel in batteries provides much energy for an EV on a single charge. Tesla Inc. now has a rising demand for nickel in order to boost the production of trucks and solar projects. [2]Here in the Philippines, we have the implementation of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), thus more electric cars are now plying on the streets of Metro Manila. PUVMP is a flagship program of the Duterte administration which envisions restructured, modern, well-managed, and environmentally sustainable transport sector, ensuring drivers and operators have stable, sufficient and dignified livelihoods while commuters get to their destinations quickly, safely and comfortably. [3]Aside from nickel, there are other elements like iron, cobalt, copper, and more that are essential in the production of EVs and their batteries. Because of mining, manufacturing of EVs and their efficient batteries is possible. Here are some facts about the elements that are needed in EVs. [3]Electric car batteries require 15 kilograms of cobalt.Lithium is used to create rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power electric and hybrid vehicles.Lithium-ion batteries used by many of the major electric vehicles manufacturers use a cathode that is primarily composed of nickel. Iron is used to make the protective bodies of electric vehicles.Molybdenum is an essential component of airbags.Electric cars use twice as much copper as internal combustion engines.The development of green technologies and the manufacturing of EVs and batteries are all dependent on mining. In order to successfully protect the environment in the long run, proper management of mineral resources, eco-friendly strategies and responsible mining are needed.-----Reference:[1] Pontes, Jose (Feb. 4, 2020). “EV Sales: 2019 sales by OEM”. EV Sales. [2] Sun, Yilei and Burton, Melanie (July 23, 2020). Reuters. “‘Please mine more nickel,' Musk urges as Tesla boosts production”. Retrieved from - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-nickel-idUSKCN24O0RV[3] “The Anatomy of an Electric Car: All Thanks to Mining” (September 2019). Mining Philippines Programme Report. Retrieved from - https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insignts/research/nickel-supply-energized-by-electric-vehicles

Mining

Philippine Resources - September 24, 2020

Joe Green on helping mining companies through The Bamboo Initiative

2019 Manila FAME at World Trade Center - (Top photo) Joseph Castillo (a.k.a. Joe Green) with the author. (Lower photo) Joseph Castillo (second from left) with his teammates in The Bamboo Initiative -- Jose Camus, Stephen Araneta and Aisa dela Cruz of OLLI, Larissa Alivio of Bamboo Initiative, and more. (Photo by Marcelle P. Villegas, Philippine Resources Journal)By Marcelle P. VillegasFrom bamboo charcoal to raw material for antibacterial fabric, environmental advocate Joe Green shares the unique and fascinating ways the bamboo plant helps mining companies and local communities. Plus with bamboo around, the cutting of trees will be lessened. During the formal launching of The Bamboo Initiative last year at the Manila FAME, it was stated that “The Bamboo Initiative is a nationwide campaign aimed at revegetating mined-out areas with fast-growing bamboo, thereby increasing bamboo production and creating lucrative enterprises for mining communities.” [1]The Bamboo Initiative was inspired and co-established by OLLI Consulting Group, Inc. under its CSR component “OLLI Cares” led by their President and Principal, Atty Leo Dominquez. The initiative is supported by and is a collaboration among the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council, and the Department of Agriculture.So how does The Bamboo Initiative directly help mining companies? We interviewed Mr Joseph Castillo of OLLI Consulting Group, Inc. to elaborate on the various strategies of The Bamboo Initiative in promoting ecological and industrial use of bamboo for mining companies.Mr Joseph Castillo is from Davao City. “People call me ‘Joe Green’ because I have other green initiatives like about plastic pollution and this bamboo campaign. The Bamboo Initiative has identified a need for the supply of bamboo planting material. In this regard, I now manage a bamboo nursery that is helping to supply the needs of the mining industry for bamboo seedlings and propagules ” he stated.Primarily, they help mining companies in planting bamboo, because most mining companies need guidance on which bamboo varieties will successfully grow in their mine site. Each mine site has a unique soil composition and soil condition after mining. The Forest Management Bureau noted that the Philippines has over 70 bamboo species where eight species are highly useful commercially. They have the local names Kauayan Tinik, Kiling, Bayog, Laak, Giant Bamboo, Bolo, Kayali and Buho. [2]Joe mentioned, “I am focused on growing the seedlings and the bamboo propagules so we have a facility in Baracatan, Davao. There we grow the seedlings and sell them to mining companies who then use them to re-forest their mined-out areas, especially in the nickel mining industry.”“Right now, we are supplying for the nickel mining company, CTP Construction and Mining Corporation, headed by Mr Carlo Pimentel. We are partnering with them now and supplying them 35,000 seedlings to start with. We just started so we are in the process of delivering the first few thousands to them and we're helping them plant also.”“Before this project even started, we did our own research together. So we studied and introduced them to people who know better about bamboo. Right now they [CTP] have enough knowledge on how to grow the bamboo successfully in their mining area. CTP is a very progressive company. They listen and they are very open to new things especially with bamboo.” Mr Joe explained why they recommend planting bamboo instead of trees. “It is common that mining companies plant trees on the land area they have finished mining on. Planting trees is still environmentally sound but after you're gone, what will the people do with the trees? If the trees planted are not fruit-bearing, most likely the people in the area will just cut them eventually.” Mr Joe added, “There is no industry around it, and with no livelihood in place, thus they will just cut the trees.”“On the other hand, with bamboo planted in the area, there are so many industries behind it that people can benefit from even after the mining company has left the area.” “Firstly, bamboo itself can create crafts. Secondly, the bamboo fruits are edible. Thirdly, bamboo has many uses that we are also concentrating on, like the ‘bamboo uling’ or charcoal.” He explained that by having bamboo charcoal around, people will cut less trees that they normally use for firewood. “Therefore, it is very sustainable. The manufacturing of bamboo charcoal is an industry in itself.” He also mentioned that in terms of carbon sequestration in the atmosphere, the bamboo can clean the air four times more than regular trees. Generally, both mining companies and the community around the mine site will benefit from bamboo. “Bamboo has a lifespan of 80 to 100 years, but it depends on the mother plant where it came from and it also depends on the species.”I asked Mr Joe about his views on the bamboo’s growing popularity in the manufacturing of anti-aging cosmetics. “Yes, they are now being used in anti-aging beauty products because bamboo has a high level of silica. Silica is used in many ways in the cosmetic industry as well as in the medical industry, plus food supplement and vitamins industry.”“As I know, other than for cosmetics and medical use, bamboo is also used to make fertilizer and even beer.” In terms of time-saving choice for reforestation and revegetation, Mr Joe mentioned that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth. How fast does one small propagule grow to become useful or before it can be harvested? Mr Joe answered, “It depends on the species but by rule of thumb, we wait 2 to 3 years before we can harvest it. But if you say will it grow in a year’s time? Yes, it will grow very tall within a year.”The bamboo is known to be resistant to strong winds and typhoons due to its ability to sway with the wind. Mr Joe mentioned that its unique root system adds to this survival factor. “The roots of the bamboo are very deep and are scattered. It anchors itself really well on the soil, like most grass species, so it sways with the wind. The bamboo’s stalk is also bendable and flexible, thus it doesn’t break easily during a typhoon.”“You would hear Confucius quotes and other Asian quotes that are ancient that talk about the bamboo’s flexibility and resilience, and comparing it in real life.” In one ancient Chinese proverb, Confucius said, "Be like the bamboo, the higher you grow the deeper you bow." Furthermore in our discussion, Mr Joe mentioned the bamboo’s antibacterial qualities. “I know some bamboo species have antibacterial properties. I have two mentors who are well-versed with bamboo, Coach Rey Millian from Davao and Father Vic Labao of Cebu. They're the ones who told me the species that has a high antibacterial property is locally called bagakay which is endemic in the Philippines.”“As I know, there are local underwear brands that are tagged as odor-proof because it has antibacterial fabric. They used bamboo cloth for it.”He is referring to the bamboo genus Schizostachyum lumampao, locally known as buho or bagakay. According to “Useful Tropical Plants” website, bagakay is known for its slim and lightweight bamboo pole that can grow up to an average of 12.50 meters high. This variety is an evergreen bamboo that forms dense clumps of culms as long as 10 meters to 15 meters tall from short, woody rhizomes, with internodes measuring 25 cm to 50 cm in length. The bagakay is one of the economically important bamboos in the Philippines providing material for a wide range of uses. It grows in the wild with the wind as its main pollinator. [3] On a final note, Mr Joe and his team in The Bamboo Initiative helps out mining companies by providing advice and hands-on support on how to successfully plant and grow bamboo in the mined-out land area . “How do we help them in the mine sites? We find out the soil composition in the area, especially for nickel mines. Some of the nutrients in the soil might be depleted due to mining. Thus we choose and recommend the right bamboo species that are drought resistant or species that are good with lime, for example. It depends on the condition of the soil in the area to be rehabilitated. We conduct studies in order to provide the best advice in choosing the right bamboo variety.” For more information about The Bamboo Initiative, please contact Ms Maria Paula Tolentino at paula.tolentino@olli.ph. -----Reference[1] Tolentino, Maria Paula (17 October 2019). "Mining industry launches bamboo development campaign at Manila FAME". The Bamboo Initiative press release for Manila FAME 2019. [2] Tolentino, Maria Paula (27 April 2019). SEM Scribe Publishing House. "OLLI Cares Spearheads The Bamboo Initiative". Retrieved from - https://semscribepublishing.com/[3] “Useful Tropical Plants”. Retrieved from - Schizostachyum lumampao, http://tropical.theferns.info/)

Mining

Marcelle P. Villegas - September 24, 2020

Discovering the World’s Largest Caldera: An Interview with Geophysicist Jenny Anne Barretto - Part 1

By Marcelle P. Villegas The Apolaki Caldera is currently considered as the world's largest caldera. It was discovered in Benham Rise by marine geophysicist Jenny Anne Barretto and her team. Last June 5, 2020, an online talk show and forum in New Zealand titled "NetKapihan" had Ms Barretto as their special guest for their Philippine Independence Day special episode. The show's host and producer, Mr Rene "Nonoy" Molina also invited Marcelle Villegas, journalist of Philippine Resources Journal, as panelist for this live broadcast. Here is an exclusive interview with Ms Barretto and how she and her team came about with the discovery of the Apolaki Caldera during one of their expeditions. The fascinating discovery of the world's largest caldera in Benham Rise made headlines last year in October. Ms Jenny Anne Barretto is a Filipina geologist and marine geophysicist who works in GNS Science in New Zealand. She is a graduate of MSc Geology from the National Institute of Geological Sciences - University of the Philippines where she was also an instructor for five years. Since 2007, she has been assisting coastal States like the Philippines and the Sultanate Republic of Oman in delineating their continental shelves as defined in UNCLOS Article 76. She was a key scientist of the technical working group that successfully confirmed the continental shelf of the Philippines in the Benham Rise region. [1] In 2019, Ms Barretto and two colleagues published a paper in Marine Geology Journal where they reported the discovery of the largest caldera in the world. They named this the Apolaki Caldera, a tribute to the "god of sun and war" in Philippine mythology. (The Filipino word "Apolaki" means "giant lord".) This caldera has a diameter of ~150 km, which is 90 km bigger than the Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming, U.S.A. Ms Barretto’s paper, "Benham Rise unveiled: Morphology and structure of an Eocene large igneous province in the West Philippine Basin" provides the details of the morphology and formation of the underwater feature of the Apolaki Caldera. The paper is co-authored by her colleagues Mr Ray Wood and Dr John Milsom. There are many notable Filipino achievers around the world and it is often customary in most events among overseas Filipino communities to honour them during Philippine Independence day every June 12 of the year. For this reason, Ms Barretto was featured as a special guest in New Zealand’s "NetKapihan" last June. "NetKapihan" is an online talk show, forum and panel discussion that features the Filipino community in New Zealand. The show’s founder and producer is Mr Rene "Nonoy" Molina, a Filipino-Kiwi digital storyteller and filmmaker who is based in New Zealand. Mr Molina stated, “It was one of the most memorable Philippine Independence Day celebrations I’ve ever had -- a tribute by NetKapihan to our 'Araw ng Kalayaan' via an exclusive info session with Filipino-Kiwi scientist Jenny Anne Barretto who was part of the team that discovered the Apolaki Caldera in Benham Rise! Many thanks too to Manila-based journalist and my former CSA-Makati student Marcelle Villegas for joining the info session. We are not a big organisation with limitless resources, neither are we a news-gathering company. We are a small, online talk show and we try our very best to be a trailblazer! That is our commitment with you! Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!” Here is our interview with Ms Jenny Anne Barretto: PRJ: From the beginning, what inspired you to pursue a career in geology and marine geophysics? Ms Barretto: Like many children, I wanted to be an astronaut, dreaming of exploring and conducting experiments in space. I initially pursued a metallurgical engineering course in UP Diliman. But when I realized I didn’t like chemistry, I shifted to Geology which was quite popular in the university at that time because of the 1990 Luzon earthquake and 1991 Pinatubo eruption. Working as a student assistant with the Zambales Lahar Scientific Monitoring Group and with UP NISMED’s Science Teacher Training Center inspired my early Geology career of simultaneous research and teaching at the UP National Institute of Geological Sciences. The journey in marine geology and geophysics started when I participated in a JAMSTEC-led marine survey in the Philippine Sea back in 2000. Then in 2008 I became part of the NAMRIA-led Technical Working Group that prepared the continental shelf submission for the Benham Rise and Reed Bank-KIG regions. Among my tasks were to put together the data and arguments relating to morphology and geophysics of the said regions, so the Philippines can extend its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. PRJ: Please share with us how you and your team came about with the discovery of the Apolaki Caldera in Benham Rise. Ms Barretto: My co-authors and I were part of the Benham Rise continental shelf technical working group. Back in 2008, we only analysed the bathymetric, geological and geophysical data for the purpose of proving that Benham Rise is part of the Philippine continental shelf. That is by showing that Benham Rise is physically connected to Luzon. Then in 2014, I looked at the bathymetric data again and started describing the different features on Benham Rise in more detail. It was then that I noticed the caldera-like feature on the summit of the rise. But because of its enormous size (~150 km diameter) I was unsure. I showed the image to Ray Wood and he agreed that it looked like a caldera, but suggested to ask other scientists’ opinions, all of whom advised me to do more analyses before making any conclusion. I went through all the data we have from 2008 and availed of other data in the public domain. Reading John Milsom’s previous interpretations of seismic and gravity data in Benham Rise, I realized that a way to explain the relatively thick pocket of sediments on the summit that he pointed out was the presence of a caldera. So that began our work together to prove or disprove the presence of a giant caldera on Benham Rise. PRJ: How long did you research and investigate on the caldera before the actual discovery and verification of its presence? Ms Barretto: The research and writing the paper spanned 2014 - 2018. It took a while because it was not part of our jobs and we were working remotely from each other. I was in Lower Hutt, Ray was in Hawke’s Bay, and John was in Wales. Then there was the paper review process of the Marine Geology Journal. There were three reviewers, who although agreed that the feature looked like a caldera, asked us to make the presentation of evidence more robust. The paper was finally published in October 2019. PRJ: What are the possible mineral resources available in the area? Do you think our country may be able to extract or mine these minerals from that depth (>-2500m) with the mining technology we have available? Ms Barretto: With the presence of the caldera, exploration geologists will say that the possible mineral resources are volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits which are significant sources of metals (largely Cu, Zn, Pb, ± Au). I believe the existing technology is for deep sea mining of seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits and not VMS deposits. SMS deposits are the modern equivalent of the ancient VMS deposits. Since rock samples from Benham Rise returned ages between 35 to 38 million years and there is no known active volcanism on the rise and vicinity, it is most unlikely to find active hydrothermal vents or chimneys which are targets for mining SMS deposits. PRJ: Is the existence of the large Apolaki Caldera still an interpretation of existing observations or may we assume it as a geological fact? Ms Barretto: The available data supports our interpretation of the existence of the caldera. However, it is not impossible that other scientists or even us (me and my co-authors) may find later evidence refuting it. It’s just how science works. --- To be continued --- ----- Acknowledgement: Thank you, Ms Jenny Anne Barretto and GNS Science, for this interview and for sharing with us your studies and discovery. Thank you, Mr Rene Nonoy Molina of NetKapihan, for the opportunity to join the discussion with Ms Barretto. Thank you, Dr Friedrich-Karl Bandelow who is my technical adviser for this interview. Reference: [1] Retrieved from Jenny Barretto’s LinkedIn page [2] Yang, Angelica (22 October 2019). GMA News Online. "After Pinay marine geophysicist discovers world's largest caldera: What is a caldera and how does it form?". Retrieved from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/scitech/science/712584/after-pinay-marine-geophysicist-discovers-world-s-largest-caldera-what-is-a-caldera-and-how-does-it-form/story/ Photo credits [3] Benham Rise - by Google Earth and UP MSI Geological Oceanography Laboratory [4] NetKapihan Zoom session, June 5, 2020 - by Rene Nonoy Molina and Marcelle Villegas NetKapihan’s Facebook page is at http://www.netkapihan.com/

Mining

Philippine Resources - September 18, 2020

COMP says ‘sustainable mining’ in PHL begins next year via TSM

The implementation of the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative for member-companies of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) will begin next year.In a news statement issued on Thursday, COMP said it is now ready to implement TSM, a Canadian mining model, after nearly three years of substantial review of the program’s various components to assure applicability to conditions in the Philippines.Through TSM, COMP aims to drive its members’ environmental and social performance and ensure that key mining risks are managed responsibly, and best practices are applied at members’ facilities nationwide.Peter MacArthur, Canadian ambassador to the Philippines, said when TSM was launched by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) in 2004, the program “was the first mining standard to apply at the facility level, with public reporting, independent verification and civil- society oversight.Today, the envoy said, TSM helps to ensure affected communities have the data they need to know nearby mines are being managed responsibly and safely for the overall public good.“A very important aspect of TSM is the way in which it incorporates civil-society oversight through the Community of Interest Advisory Panel, which not only oversees the development and implementation of TSM but also provides a dialogue table between the industry and civil society, resulting in an industry that is more aware and responsive to the views of communities,” MacArthur added.In 2017, COMP signed a mutual cooperation agreement with MAC for the adoption of TSM in response to President Duterte’s call for the mining industry to follow Canadian and Australian standards.“The pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte in the beginning of his term served as a wake-up call for the mining industry to adhere to international standards,” Nonita Caguioa, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assistant secretary for Mining Concerns said in the same statement.“In response, the government has implemented new mining policies and strict environmental guidelines that are all geared towards the protection of the environment and the mining communities. As we are facing this global pandemic, the government considers the mining industry as one of the primary measures for economic recovery,” she said.“This is an opportune time for the industry to adopt the TSM because sustainability should go hand in hand with economic growth.”Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Wilfredo Moncano, for his part, said that this is the first time that TSM has been adopted in Asia.“We at the MGB are delighted with COMP’s establishment of this [program] and we express our gratitude as you have complied to the call of our President,” the mining official said.Apart from Canada and the Philippines, other countries that have adopted TSM are Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Finland, and Spain. South Africa, Indonesia, and Laos have expressed strong interest in adopting TSM as well.“Rest assured that the DENR and the MGB will give their utmost support for the development of TSM,” Moncano added.“We will also guarantee our role to serve by administering and enforcing more progressive laws and regulations for the mining sector,” he said.“We all know that mining is finite and temporary use of land for the creation of economic wealth. The challenge [for COMP members] is to ensure TSM will be used properly to achieve sustainable development,” Moncano stated.MacArthur said investors are increasingly looking at how to measure the environmental and social performance of miners and are turning to standards like TSM.  “In fact, Sustainalytics, a major environmental and social ratings agency, recently developed a new tailings indicator that leans heavily on TSM,” the envoy pointed out.“The only way a miner can receive the top level of performance in the Sustainalytics indicator is through TSM,” he stressed.The COMP recently completed the rollout of the TSM initiative among its member-firms in Luzon and Visayas.It was launched in Mindanao last month.A total of over 200 individuals representing the country’s biggest large-scale mining projects participated in the Luzon-Visayas and Mindanao TSM rollouts.The rollouts, held via a videotelephony platform, were hosted by The Embassy of Canada Trade Mission.Source: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/09/17/comp-says-sustainable-mining-in-phl-begins-next-year-via-tsm/?fbclid=IwAR3HA-xiJldpOvgYjeVC7L5C4Ad-F6r2pEbSZIkVCWuMj-QQtigfm9j6UZE

Mining

Philippine Resources - June 08, 2020

FCF Minerals’ Ian Moller on Sustainability Management

2 March 2020, PMEA Monthly Membership Meeting, Manila Elks Club, Makati City - "Sustainability Management" by Mr. Ian Moller, Country Manager, General Manager Sustainability, FCF Minerals (Photo by Marcelle P. Villegas, Philippine Resources Journal)By Marcelle P. VillegasEarly in May, FCF Minerals Corporation joined the national and local government in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya with efforts to help the locals in the province during the COVID-19 pandemic. FCF workers distributed the company’s donations of sacks of rice to the LGU of Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya. According to Country Manager and Acting General Manager, Mr Ian Moller, they have funds for their Social Development and Management Programs (SDMP) to support the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of the national government. “This is in response to the advice of the MGB for mining companies to use our remaining funds from our SDMP to support the affected impact and non-impact communities due to the COVID-19,” according to Mr Moller. [1]FCF Minerals Corporation has initially donated 2500 face masks and 25 gallons of alcohol to the provincial government, 20 pieces of Tyvek suits and goggles to the Municipal Health Office of Quezon town and 50 sacks of rice to the Quezon LGU. [1]Two months ago, (2 March 2020), Philippine Mining and Exploration Association invited Mr Ian Moller as their guest speaker for the March Monthly Membership Meeting. This was held in Manila Elks Club in Makati. Mr Moller presented with the topic "Sustainability Management".Mr Moller has been the Country Manager and Acting General Manager of FCF Minerals since August 2016. He has a diverse background in consulting and site operations, project development and project management of major developments global projects in mining, energy, manufacturing facilities, infrastructure and natural resource utilization. FCF Minerals Corporation is a mining company that engages in exploration, development, and commercial operation of mineral claims of gold and molybdenum mining projects. [2] Their mine site in Nueva Vizcaya is 300 km from Manila or a 6-hours drive, according to Mr Moller..“Sustainability is a word that's often used and abused, but in the context with what I will share with you tonight, it is sustainability in terms of staying in business. In the PH mining industry, that is a serious challenge to stay in business,” said Mr Moller. He describes their mines as a Surface Mine which is an open terracing-type development. “The tailings dam or residual storage impoundment as it's called is continuing to be developed in another valley, and that is constructed using some of the waste rock from the mine.” “We have a processing plant which is a biological oxidation process, the only one in the Philippines together with a cyanide destruction technology which is also biological, which is the largest and most efficient in the world in this application. We also have a number of other dump sites.”“One of the features of the project is we have a very high proportion of females in the work force and they do all kinds of jobs. They're really good people -- the locals of Runruno… the ladies and mothers.” He further describes the mine site, “The residual storage impoundment is built up in an adjacent valley” It has a vertical rising of the wall and a spillway. “To date in the four years of operation, the spillway has not operated. The free board is maintained to 5 meters so even two successive typhoons have not resulted in any discharge through the spillway from the impoundment.” With regards to environmental rehabilitation, he stated, “One of the aspects of mining in the Philippines is that for every tree that you cut related to mining, you need to plant 100 additional trees somewhere. For every hectare that you disturb, you have to replace that area by 2 hectares somewhere. So we have quite a lot of offsite tree planting and reforestation of areas that have got nothing to do with the mine at all. And to date, we have planted over 3 million trees in the first four years of the operation, because of the appropriate requirements of 100 trees to 1.”“So the logical conclusion is that if you want to rehabilitate the Philippines, you need more mining, because for every tree that we cut, we plant another hundred trees somewhere. Every hectare that we disturb, we rehabilitate two hectares somewhere else and it's all offsite. We simply do not have enough land that we've actually disturbed for mining to consume all of that.” In his presentation, he discussed the Mine Environment Protection and Enhancement Office with the following points:.Mining Forest Program:To date, a total of 392.783 hectares were planted under the Mining Forest Program (MFP) of the company.As against the total disturbed areas to date (182.52 hectares) and with regards to the compliance obligation of two hectares replacement for every hectare of area cleared / disturbed, FCF Minerals Corporation is at 107.60% compliant.A total of 175 surface owners benefited from the Care and Maintenance Program of Mining Forest plantation areas.Special Tree-Cutting and Earth Balling Permit - As of Q4-2019, under the three Special Tree Cutting Permits used to FCF Minerals Corporation, the company increased its compliance to 62.53% with regards to its obligation of one hundred seedlings replacement for every tree cut (1:100). Also todate, tree clearing continues with a 7-year extension of its STCEP No.3 last December 18, 2018 denoted as STCEP No. RII-21-2018.Mr Moller also gave a rundown of some of the company’s latest accomplishments, namely:Community Relations Office - Progress the implementation of the remaining PPAs under the 2017, 2018 and 2019 ASDMP budget: 2019 SDMP Financial Accomplishment: 77.00%Physical Accomplishment: 95.08%Infrastructure Projects - K to 12 workshop building of Runruno National High School, Multi-Purpose Hall of Runruno Elementary School, flood control structures, water system, irrigation canals, farm-to-market roads and improvement of daycare buildingsEducation - Participation of FCF to the National Literacy Forum sponsored by the Literacy Coordinating Council for the presentation of the award-winning Best Practices of the Program: Handog-Aral sa Ikauunlad ng Buhay.Enterprise Development - Partnership with TESDA and Tam-an for skills training program. 8 ALS Learners and OSY's from Runruno competed Automotive Servicing with NCR Certifications.Access to Health Services, Professionals and Health Facilities - Support to the Construction of Municipal Sanitary Land Fill (funded from the SDMP shares of the 12 Barangays of Quezon), purchase of ambulance for Barangay Runruno. Safety and Environment - CFC Minerals Corporation won the National Best Mining Forest Award (2nd time), Achieved 10M hours LTI free in Feb. 2020, and their Emergency Response Team won 2nd place in the Fire Olympics/5th in PMSEA Fire and Rescue Competition. Notably, there was no lost time in 10 million man hours. Mr Moller said, “We can't remember the last time somebody had an accident and didn't come to work the next day.” With regards to Sustainability Management, he said, “Four years ago when Ian Holzberger, the former CEO, Chairman and President, invited me to consider joining FCF to actually put into place the first sustainability report. He did that in the knowledge that FCF would be placing some significant challenges in Nueva Vizcaya.” By the “challenges” that time, he was referring to the history of Oceanagold and also actions of some of the anti-mining groups. “So his foresight is well and truly validated. The challenge to me at the time was just ot prepare the sustainability report at which we've done to prepare. We took the global initiative guidelines. It requires you to go through an arduous process and it is very time-consuming.”The Global Initiative Guidelines for Sustainability Management covers 33 topics, 76 disclosures and the Progressive Disclosure can help drive performance in the value-creation area. Here are the steps he mentioned on how to make a Sustainability report:1) Prepare - Plan your reporting process.2) Connect - Input from key stakeholders3) Define - Define your report content.4) Monitor - Gather and analyze information.5) Report - Finalize and distribute your sustainability report-----References:[1] Ebreo, Benjamin Moses M. (3 May 2020). “Vizcaya mine firm joins fight vs. COVID-19”. Philippine Information Agency[2] FCF Minerals Corporation company profile by Bloomberg.com

Mining

Philippine Resources - June 02, 2020

The Bamboo Initiative and solutions for the mining industry

2019 Manila FAME at World Trade Center - (L-R) Atty Leo G. Dominguez (President, OLLI Consulting Group, Inc.) and H.E. Gerard HO Wei Hong (Singaporean Ambassador to the Philippines) (Photo by Marcelle P. Villegas, Philippine Resources Journal)By: Marcelle P. VillegasThe Bamboo Initiative is more than just a campaign that promotes the use of bamboo for ecological and industrial use. It is a brilliant solution that addresses the many challenges and hurdles of the Philippine mining industry. How can The Bamboo Initiative solve these problems?“The Bamboo Initiative is a nationwide campaign aimed at revegetating mined-out areas with fast-growing bamboo, thereby increasing bamboo production and creating lucrative enterprises for mining communities.” [1] This is how The Bamboo Initiative was defined and introduced during the Manila FAME event last year in October. During this event, the mining industry formally launched the campaign, represented by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, and the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA). Other supporters of The Bamboo Initiative are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).So, what are the proposals or strategies of The Bamboo Initiatives in addressing some of the major issues of the mining industry? First of all, bamboo is a solution in rehabilitating lands after a mining operation. While there are many tree options that are traditionally used in reforestation and land rehabilitation, the bamboo is a grass that is fast-growing compared with most trees. It is also low-maintenance and the survival rate is high. In reforestation projects, time is an important aspect in measuring its success rate, and this is where the bamboo excels being a fast-growing plant.The campaign is a response to President Duterte’s order to revegetate mined-out areas. DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu mentioned, “In his State of the Nation Address, the President said that the mining industry should repair the environment which has been mismanaged. The DENR and the DTI are initiating the rehabilitation of mined-out areas using bamboo to address this matter, while also helping expand the country’s bamboo resources.” Secretary Cimatu noted that the group chose bamboo in rehabilitating used up lands because it grows fast and releases 30% more oxygen than conventional trees, and is efficient in absorbing heavy metals from contaminated soil or water. [1]Second, bamboo is also an effective tool for economic growth. Mr Ramon Lopez, DTI Secretary and Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council Chairman, stated that “the potential for bamboo is limitless, given the variety of its use.” Mr Lopez praised Secretary Cimatu and mining companies who have initiated the planting of bamboo in their mine sites. He said that such action will help increase the supply of bamboo as raw materials for other high-value products in the future. Bamboo is useful in creating furniture, housing materials, window shades, flooring material, and more. When it comes to innovative uses of bamboo, on top of the list are bamboo used for health and wellness products, such as ingredient for essential oils and anti-aging cosmetics, light-weight frame for bicycles (like Bryan Benitez McLelland’s revolutionary “Bambikes”), and fashion industry’s bamboo frame for sunglasses (which float in water and non-toxic unlike plastic). And let us not forget how bamboo helps protect the environment by replacing plastics in the manufacturing of drinking straws and toothbrushes. Bamboo charcoal is an efficient fuel and an effective room deodorizer. Bamboo is a raw material that never fails to impress the innovative and creative people. Therefore, it can offer so much for economic growth. According to Mines and Geosciences Bureau, there are 12 mining companies that are planting bamboo in 12 provinces across nine regions all over the Philippines.Finally, bamboo can help communities become sustainable. According to Mr Butch Alcantar, Chairman of PNIA, planting of bamboo was more than just for rehabilitation. It is also the long-term economic development of their communities. [1] “What sustainable livelihood do we leave our host communities, especially the indigenous peoples when the mining stops?” Mr Alcantara explained that a 10-hectare plot of bamboo can help a worker earn five to six times more income than their salary. “The bamboo industry is a $60 billion industry where our communities can participate by manufacturing and supplying high-value products globally.”Atty Ronald Recidoro, Executive Director of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said that The Bamboo Initiative emphasises the significance of the mining industry’s role in creating opportunities and social enterprise. [1]Atty Leo Dominguez, a proponent of The Bamboo Initiative and a prominent mining lawyer stated, “The Bamboo Initiative will boost the development of the bamboo industry, create sustainable livelihood projects for mining communities and thereby re-invent mining as a social enterprise. This will help change the conversation about mining.”For more information about The Bamboo Initiative , please contact Ms Maria Paula Tolentino at paula.tolentino@olli.ph. Reference:[1] Tolentino, Maria Paula (17 October 2019). "Mining industry launches bamboo development campaign at Manila FAME". The Bamboo Initiative press release for Manila FAME 2019.

Mining

Philippine Resources - November 05, 2019

What the PH can Learn from Indonesia’s Successful Nickel Industry

By Marcelle P. Villegas“The Philippines is currently the leader in the hydrometallurgical leaching of laterite ores but will lose its leadership position in the battery raw materials sector if supportive mining policies are not put into place quickly... or if an export ban is not implemented quickly.” (George Bujtor, 11 September 2019, Jakarta, Indonesia) Last September, during the Asian Nickel Conference 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Mr. George Bujtor (CEO of Electric Metals Ltd.) represented the Philippines through his report titled “Philippines: Regulatory Update and the Potential of the Philippine Laterite Ore” -- “How the Philippines was Surpassed by Indonesia in the Laterite Nickel Industry”. The scope of his presentation covered the following:Update on mining regulations in the PhilippinesExamining export volumes of nickel ore from the Philippines, and how these had been impacted by Indonesia’s exportsExamining the viability of the Philippines’ laterite ore deposits and what this could mean for future production [1]The Asian Nickel Conference is now on its 7th year. This year’s conference was held at The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Mega Kuningan, Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia is known as the fast-growing hub for the global nickel market. The conference is a venue that brings together nickel, stainless steel and NPI producers, end-users, auto and battery manufacturers and industry experts. [2]Mr Bujtor is an eminent mining executive with over 35 years of experience in the industry. He is an expert in the technical, financial and commercial aspects of mining operations, and projects across many commodity groups such as gold, copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, nickel, iron ore, chromite, magnetite sands, diamonds, coal, etc. He has extensive work experience in the past as General Manager and Managing Director in Rio Tinto, Australia. He was CEO of Toledo Mining Corporation and developed the Berong Nickel Mine in Palawan. Currently, he is the CEO of private companies -- Electric Metals Limited (EML) in Hong Kong and PT Electric Metals Indonesia which are developing the innovative EML Process for the low-cost leaching of nickel laterite ores. This is the first of its kind in green technology in nickel processing, and he introduced this at the Asian Nickel Conference in Indonesia last September.While many are optimistic about how the Philippines shall benefit from Indonesia’s upcoming nickel laterite ore export ban, there are certain angles of this situation that many do not realise. First, let us look into the situation of the Philippine nickel industry and how Indonesia is affecting us. During his participation as a speaker in Indonesia’s Asian Nickel Conference, Mr Bujtor gave a comparative analysis on how the Philippines and Indonesia differ in handling the nickel industry. The Philippines has the fourth largest resource of nickel in the world, the fourth largest resource of cobalt in the world, and the world’s second largest producer of nickel units in 2017. Both the Philippines and Indonesia have the resources to dominate the nickel industry. How come Indonesia is taking the lead while the Philippines is behind the race?According to the Fitch Group - Asia Mining Risk & Reward Index, “Philippines mining to remain among Asian’s laggards”. The Philippines ranks as the last (rank 13) among resource-rich Asian countries. The Philippines’ global rating is on the 45th rank. [1] A quote from the Fitch Group analysis states “The Philippines is characterized by weak mining reserves, poor regulatory framework, corruption and increasing resource nationalism… Political uncertainty will continue to impinge on growth and especially foreign investment.”Furthermore, “The Philippines has been left behind as Asia’s mining sector continues to boast the greatest rewards globally with positive business environments, rich mineral deposits, supportive infrastructure and political stability in the countries holding the top positions in the mining index.”How did the Philippine mining sector end up in this situation when we have the resources necessary to excel? Let’s take a look at the policies we have. In 2012, we have the implementation of the EO 79 which is still in place today. This is the moratorium on processing new mineral agreements until new legislation rationalizing existing revenue sharing agreements take effect. Then, the 2016 mining audits resulted in the closure or suspension of 28 mining operations. As of today, 13 mineral agreements have been canceled.On the following year, there was an Open Pit Ban by the late DENR Secretary Gina Lopez. The ban is still in place today. This entails a national ban on all open pit mining in the Philippines for copper, gold, silver and complex ores. (This excludes quarrying.) In 2018, (DAO 2018-03) DENR lifts the moratorium on the acceptance, processing and/or approval of Exploration Permit applications. From Mr Bujtor’s presentation, he stated, “The Philippines has already been surpassed by Indonesia in developing its nickel industry, but the Philippines has the fourth largest resource tonnage of Ni-Co laterite in the world, comprising ~28 million tonnes contained nickel (~15% of the world’s total) [Reserves ~14Mt], ~1.35 million tonnes contained cobalt (~12%), and ~0.44 million tonnes contained scandium.”“Regulatory turmoil and policy indecision has prevented the Philippines from developing its world-class laterite resources, and this is unlikely to change in the short to medium term.” [1]Compared with Indonesia, “the Philippines has already ‘lost’ the race to Indonesia to become the world leader in Nickel Pig Iron production and stainless steel. Direct shipping of laterite ores has not benefited the Philippines and is not in the national interest.” [1]However, the Philippines is currently Asia’s leading supplier of raw materials (nickel and cobalt) for the battery sector. Now, with the right policies, the Philippines could become one of the world’s leading suppliers of battery raw materials, including battery manufacturing, according to Mr Bujtor. [1]Now, over the next 4 to 5 years, nickel demand growth will be in the stainless steel and battery sectors. Mr Bujtor said, “Indonesia will continue to dominate the NPI growth and investment. The Philippines will only be able to compete in the battery sector.”The Philippines is one of two producers of the raw materials of battery in Asia. The other one is Papua New Guinea. In the Philippines, we have Nickel Asia and Sumitomo that control the Coral Bay and Taganito HPAL Plants for processing of limonite laterite ores. [1]In comparison, Indonesia has benefitted enormously from its nickel laterite ore export ban. How? They have been successful in the value added development of its nickel industry with around 26 plants. [1]“Tsingshan in Indonesia has invested over US$6B in integrated production facilities since 2014.” Moreover, “NPI production in Indonesia is forecast to exceed 750kt nickel metal by 2023. Where is the Philippines?”Indonesia’s export ban introduced in 2014 resulted in large investments in nickel plants due to access to laterite ore, coal and Chinese capital. “Investment to date is estimated at >US$12B with NPI production growing rapidly. NPI technology is readily available ‘off the shelf’. Chinese domestic production will decline for cost competitiveness and environmental reasons.” [1]He further noted, “The Philippines has ‘missed the boat’ and will now never be able to compete with Indonesia in ferro-nickel production for the stainless steel sector -- an unfortunate missed opportunity.”With Indonesia’s accelerated progress in the industry, how has that affected the Philippines? “Laterite nickel ore sales from the Philippines have peaked and are now in decline.” Here are some key points:China is moving its NPI production to Indonesia for reasons of lower cost, higher saprolite ore grades, favourable tax incentives and less uncertain mining policies.As Indonesia increases domestic NPI production, the need for laterite ores from the Philippines will decline. No Chinese companies have shown any interest in investing in process plants in the Philippines. Why invest when you can freely export ores and avoid political uncertainty and poor regulatory framework?The Philippines has permanently lost billions of dollars in investments because of the lack of an ore export ban. Even though laterite ore is being converted into NPI in China, costs would be much lower in the Philippines without the need to export ores.Philippine saprolite ores are low grade relative to Indonesia, but limonite ores are of similar grade with respect to nickel, cobalt and scandium. Indonesia exports average ~1.65% Ni whereas the Philippines grades average ~1.2% Ni.Much of the Philippine ores have been “high graded” and sold off at ~10% of the London Metal Exchange (LME) price for the contained nickel. “In-country processing generates much more revenues than DSO exports, which could be worth US$4.1 billion per year.”Therefore, what is the future for Philippine laterite nickel ores? Let’s look at the competitiveness of Indonesia vs the Philippines.“Relative to Indonesia, the Philippines has no competitive advantage in ferro-nickel production. Indonesia has built power stations to provide electricity to its ferro-nickel industry. The Philippines has limited coal resources and a negative view of coal-fired power stations.”Mr Bujtor added, “With past high grading and sales of saprolite ores, little high grade saprolite tonnage remains in the Philippines to produce low-cost ferro-nickel/NPI.”“Indonesia has the advantage of having considerably higher saprolite ore grades and lesser environmental controls. These are the key cost drivers.” Therefore, in conclusion, the future for the Philippines is not in ferro-nickel or NPI. “The future of the Philippines lies in the processing of its laterite ores as battery raw materials,” he concluded. “The Philippines has the world’s best HPAL technology and should leverage its current strong position.”For Part II of this article, we shall further discuss Mr Bujtor’s presentation on the Philippine’s potential if we make the right moves in leveraging its current strong position. We shall also discuss his company’s “EML Process” which was developed in the Philippines. This is like a heap leach process but adapted for the tropics and can treat all laterite nickel ores with the lowest carbon footprint. EML’s technology is a low cost breakthrough in leaching being the “greenest” of all nickel technologies with the lowest capital cost in the industry. Acknowledgement:Thank you to Mr George Bujtor of Electric Metals Ltd. Reference:[1] Bujtor, George. (11 Sept. 2019). “Philippines: Regulatory Update and the Potential of the Philippines Laterite Ore -- How the Philippines was Surpassed by Indonesia in the Laterite Nickel Industry”. Presented at Asian Nickel Conference 2019, Jakarta Indonesia[2] Asian Nickel Conference 2019 website - Retrieved from - https://www.metalbulletin.com/events/asian-nickel-conference/details.html

Mining

Philippine Resources - November 05, 2019

Philippine Mining Today - Report from Mining PH Conference 2019

By Marcelle VillegasThe Mining Philippines International Conference and Exhibition 2019 last September presented the many aspects on how the local mining industry affects other industries as well, such are the agriculture, infrastructure, energy sector, petroleum and more. Change in general is one of the main focus of the conference. “Change is inevitable. In today's fast-changing business landscape, change is the main catalyst for growth.”It was also emphasised by the various speakers that change is a great equalizer that allows the emergence of new businesses, startups and crowdfunded enterprises in order to compete with bigger and more influential multinational companies. [1]“Changes has been knocking at the door of the mining industry. Embracing change is no longer an option. It is do or die.”This explains why the theme of the conference is “Riding The Wave: Capitalizing on Opportunities”. Change creates a wave that shapes the mining industry today, and is an important factor in nation-building.“The interplay of internal and external forces is creating a wave of change that can bring the industry to new heights. The Chamber of Mines has prepared a diverse program that will give conference attendees a better understanding of the social, geo-political and economic landscape and market trends that have and will continue to shape the mining industry as we know it today.” [1]“Demand for minerals is projected to increase in order to achieve energy transition. Given that low-emission energy and transportation systems are more mineral-intensive than their fossil fuel-based counterparts, the transition provides a great opportunity for the mining sector.”Philippine Mining Today“The Philippines is a leading producer of nickel and is a significant producer of gold, copper, chromium, zinc and silver. We also produce oil and gas. In the 5th Country Report of the Philippines Extractives Industry Transparency Initiatives (PH-EITI), it is reported that there are currently 48 large-scale metallic mines with a total production value of PHP 108.7 billion. [2]”“The country accounted for 11% of the world’s production of nickel in 2017. Other commodities being produced in the Philippines include chromite, zinc, iron, silver, crude oil and natural gas.” “Domestic production follows a similar trend as mining - declined from 3 million barrels of oil in 2014 to only 1.5 million barrels in 2016. Production from Galoc oil field has been the main contributor to the total output, producing 1.4 million barrels of oil in 2017.” “The Philippines has rich deposits of gold, copper, nickel, chromite, and reserves of coal, zinc, iron, molybdenum, crude oil and natural gas. While the Philippines is ranked as the world’s 5th most mineralized country by estimated reserves valued at USD1.39 trillion, only around 2.35% of the 9 million hectares holding mineral reserves are covered by mining permits as of August 2018. As of 2018, the Philippines accounted for 6.4% of the world’s total estimated reserves of nickel.”Revenue Collection“The latest EITI disclosures (2017) show that the Philippines received USD 722 million (PHP 37.8 billion) from the extractive industry. This was a 26% increase from the previous year (USD 536 million or PHP 28 billion in 2016). Almost 74% of these revenues came from oil and gas, with the rest from mining.”“Oil and gas revenues were mainly collected through the government’s share of oil and gas production (63% of oil and gas revenues) and corporate income tax (28%), while mining revenues were mainly collected through corporate income tax (38% of total mining revenues) and excise tax on minerals (24%).”[2]Reference:[1] Retrieved from Mining Philippines 2019 Conference and Exhibition Directory[2] PH EITI 5th Country Report (FY 2017) vol.1, p.15

Mining

Philippine Resources - November 05, 2019

Riding the Wave at Mining PH 2019

By Marcelle VillegasThe annual Mining Philippine International Conference and Exhibition 2019 (10-12 September 2019) tackled several issues about the mining sector of the Philippines from regulations, audits, environmental concerns and recent changes in global market trends. This year’s theme is “Riding the Wave: Capitalizing on Opportunities”. Honorable Analiza Teh, Undersecretary, Climate Change and Mining Concerns, DENR, discussed on first two days of the conference some updates about mining permits and audits. She reported five pending major investments or mining projects that are expected to generate growth for the industry. Undersecretary Teh said, “Our goal now is how to maximize this potential to boost growth without compromising the protection of the environment and ensuring the sustainability of mining practices,"She also mentioned that there are five mining projects that are expected to increase the contribution of the mining sector to the economy. [1] The following mining companies are: Tampakan Copper-Gold project in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur with a total capital investment of USD8.20 billionKingking Copper-Gold mining project in Compostela Valley -- USD2.29 billionSilangan Copper-Gold in Surigao del Norte -- USD40.43 billionPujada Nickel project in Davao Oriental -- PHP540.36 billionBalabag Gold-Silver project in Zamboanga del Sur -- PHP1.04 billion [1] Undersecretary Teh noted, "These mining projects are expected to bring billions of US dollars worth of revenues during its operations.". "The government and the industry need to work on improving public perception and enhance public confidence in the industry's capacity to implement genuine responsible mining." [1]During the morning session of Day One of the conference, a protestor addressed a question to the Undersecretary after her speech. He is Paul Nieves, Media Coordinator of “Alyansa Tigil Mina”, a Phlippine anti-mining group. He later said during an interview by ABS-CBN, "What is DENR doing regarding irresponsible miners? I have shown to Undersecretary (Analyza Teh) the people's mining audit. It shows the environmental destruction." He was questioning the credibility of the government’s audits. [2]There was also a group of female protestors from the same anti-mining group who did a non-violent, silent protest at the lobby of the hotel where the conference was held. The ladies were arrested and detained by police and hotel security. [2]Environmental Undersecretary Analiza Teh mentioned that the MICC audit are even stricter than the audits done by the late DENR Secretary Gina Lopez which resulted in closure and suspension orders for some 26 mines. She also emphasised the audits are meant to ensure that miners don't harm the environment and to allow responsible miners to continue operations. [2] "It really covered several aspects: legal, technical, environmental and social compliance, so this is more thorough.” Additionally, she said that different mining companies have different corrective measures. The MICC will start another audit of the mining sector within the next two months, and according to Undersecretary, this one will cover 17 mining companies which passed previous evaluations. The second audit aims to ensure all industry players are complying with laws that protect the environment. [2]She mentioned that despite the completion of the last audit, MICC decided not to publish the results as some of the information are confidential. In contrast to this, Mr Gerard Brimo (Chairman, Chamber of Mines of the Phils.) said that the audit results should be released. "The fact is the majority of the companies have passed, so it paints a different picture than the results of the first audit when some 26 companies, more than half of the operating mines were serving closure orders." [2]Mr Brimo said that the mining industry has been “in a tough situation for years now with growth stifled by the ongoing moratorium on new mining permits, the ban on open-pit mining and prevailing uncertainty regarding mining taxation”. [2]The 17 mining companies covered by the MICC Review Phase II are:Agata Mining Ventures Inc.Apex Mining Corp.Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp.Cagdianao Mining Corp.Century Peak Corp.FCF Minerals Corp.Filminera Resources Corp.Greenstone Resources Corp.Pacific Nickel Phils.Philex Mining Corp.Philsaga Mining Corp.Platinum Group MetalsRio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp.SR Metals Inc. Taganito Mining Corp.TechIron Resources Inc.Tribal Mining Corp.-----On Day Two of the conference, Undersecretary Teh gave a presentation titled “Where are we going? Government’s way forward for the mining industry”. During the open forum after the first set of speakers, Atty. Leo G. Dominguez, President of OLLI Consulting Group, Inc., asked a question to Undersecretary Teh. The question pertained to her statement the day before that the results of the MICC audit have been forwarded to the Office of the President (OP), for concerns relating to the Privacy Act of the audit results cannot be made public, and therefore matters relating to the audit are no longer in the hands of the DENR. If companies need to follow up on the resolution of appeals pending with the OP as affected by the audit, these companies should not come to the DENR but go directly to the OP. Atty Dominguez asked whether or not the Undersecretary believed that the OP has the expertise to understand the audit report, because it has been there for 18 months with no action. His concern reflects the situation of the companies being audited and whose operations have been on hold pending government action on the audit results. Because the report has not been released to the mining companies concerned and to the public, then the mining companies have no idea exactly where they stand in respect of the audit, and what actions they need to take to pass the audits, or how long their operations will need to be on hold. Undersecretary Teh responded to Atty. Dominguez by saying that mining companies subject of the audit could go to her at the DENR and seek the DENR’s assistance. If the meetings indicate that a specific mining company’s position is meritorious, the DENR would forward a favorable endorsement and recommendation to the OP in respect of that company’s pending appeal. In effect, this is how Undersecretary Teh proposed that the OP’s lack of expertise to understand the audit results could be addressed. So, again, in effect, Undersecretary Teh admitted that contrary to her statement the day before that the audit results were no longer in the hands of the DENR, the DENR’s additional input was in fact still necessary for the OP to act on the audit results vis-a-vis appeals by mining companies of Orders of Cancellation of their operations issued by former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez. Loss of time is critical in any business operation. Plus a vagueness in process flow of approvals and audits puts the mining companies involved in an awkward position of waiting for the unknown.The Undersecretary said she would forward Atty. Dominguez’s concern to the Office…-----The 3-day conference had many notable speakers such as Director Nestor Arcansalin (Resources-Based Industries Service, Board on Investment) who talked about “Identifying Opportunities Under the Government’s Manufacturing Resurgence Program”, Mr Pierre Gratton (President and CEO, Mining Association of Canada) on “Updates on the Towards Sustainable Mining Initiative”, Atty Dante Bravo (President, Phil. Nickel Association Industry) on “What;s next for the nickel in the face of the looming EV market”, Engr. Eulalio B. Austin, Jr. (President and CEO, Philex Mining Corp.) on “The Silangan Project - Surigao del Norte”, Mr Rob Longey (Technical Director - Tailings and Mine Rehabilitation, GHD) on “Dam Design and Safety”, and more. On Day One of the conference, a Focus Group Discussion was held to talk about the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code and Its Relevance to the Philippine Mineral Industry. The discussion was led by Atty. Ronald S. Recidoro (Chamber of Mines of the Phils. Executive Director) and moderated by Atty. Dennis A. Quintero (PABC Chair and Meeting Chair). Presenters for the Focus Group Discussion were Engr. Ramon N. Santos (GSP CPAC Secretariat Head) who reported about the “Basics of the Phil. Mineral Reporting Code 2007 and Its Implementing Rules and Regulations”, Engr. Juancho Calvez (MGB Chief Metallurgical Engineering) on “PMRC Committee: Role and Composition”, Mr George Baquiran (GSP CPAC Chair) on “CRIRSCO & International Reporting Codes”, and Mr Joey Nelson Ayson (PMEA President) on “PMRC: Updates and Relevance to the Minerals Industry”.The Focus Group Discussion was ended with an open forum that was moderated by Engr. Roger A. De Dios (PSEM National President). Reference:[1] Ison, Lilybeth. (10 Sept. 2019) "5 projects seen to boost growth of PH mining sector". Philippine News Agency[2] Deguzman, Warren. (10 Sept. 2019). "Environmental groups question PH officials on credibility of mining audits". ANC 24/7, ABS-CBN News

Mining

Philippine Resources - September 30, 2019

Didipio Mine: The Renewal of the Philippines’ First FTAA

By Marcelle Villegas The Didipio Mine of OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (OGPI) is a gold and copper mine located across the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya. It is considered one of the safest gold mining operations in the world.OGPI received numerous awards such as two Presidential Awards as the most environmentally and socially responsible mining operations in the Philippines. On the international scene, the company was awarded the 1st ASEAN Mineral Award for best practices in sustainable development.OGPI’s Didipio mine site is considered one of the safest gold mining operations in the world, because for the past two years, the company has deployed state-of-the-art automated and digital underground mining technology. The Didipio Mine also implements International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certified environmental management system (ISO14001:2015), Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSAS 18001:2007) and Energy Management System (ISO50001:2011).It is notable that OGPI has delivered significant socio-economic benefits to the Barangays of Didipio, neighboring communities, the province of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. It directly employs 1,500 workers where approximately 97% are Filipinos, with 59% hailing from local communities. The company also provides several thousands of additional livelihood opportunities and indirect jobs through partnerships with cooperatives and social development organisations.“OceanaGold has given us our three basic needs: School, Roads and Electricity,” Pastor Efren H. Bulawan, Resident and Local Didipio Leader. [1]During the September Monthly Membership Meeting of the Philippine Mining and Exploration Association (PMEA), Mr Jason Magdaong, Environmental/MEPEO & Compliance Manager of OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. was a guest speaker. His presentation was titled “Didipio Mine: The Renewal of the Philippines’ First FTAA”. [2]From his report, he stated that OGPI generated over 3000 jobs as part of its economic contribution to the country. In the development of their host communities, they have the following accomplishments:a total of 119kms of road improved and developed201 scholars graduated since 2007, 11 mining engineers producedtrained and produced 114 local residents as globally competitive underground mine workersestablished a community-owned corporation that offers a multitude of services of OGPIfinancially and technically supporting 13 agricultural cooperatives and establishing local and regional marketsFTAA Renewal Process and ChallengesOn March 2018, OGPI submitted its applications for its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) renewal with the Philippine Government. The company is currently working with the National Government to complete the renewal. As of 20 June 2019, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) issued a letter authorising the Didipio Mine to continue its operations while the confirmation of the FTAA renewal by the Government is pending. By 25 June 2019, the Provincial Local Government Unit of Nueva Vizcaya (PLGU NV) ordered the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENARO), Philippine National Police (PNP), Municipal Local Government Unit of Kasibu (MLGU) and Barangay Local Government Unit of Didipio (BLGU) to restrain any operations of the company after 20 June 2019.Then, on 1 July 2019, BLGU Didipio started blockade and hindered access to and from the mine site in response to the PLGU NV Order. By 25 July 2019, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Nueva Vizcaya denied the Writ of Preliminary Injunction prayed by OGPI to enjoin the enforcement of the Order pending the determination of the case with the local court. On 29 July 2019, OGPI appealed the decision by the RTC to deny the Injunction of the Court of AppealsThis blockade has the following impact on the Didipio mine operation:voluntary ceased copper concentrate haulagesuspension of underground activities due to depletion of consumable mining suppliesimpending depletion of consumable processing suppliesimpending temporary suspension of operation which will directly affect 1,516 employeesThe blockade also affects the community through the suspension of the PHP300M+ worth Social Development Management Program and Corporate Social Responsibility Projects of 11 beneficiary barangays with 15,000+ residents, namely:273 Barangay Health Workers, Security/Utility, Teachers and SDMP Staffs being subsidised193 scholars currently being supported3,000+ members/employees of cooperatives being assistedAdditionally, major community development projects are on hold, namely: Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino Road networkDidipio water systemKasibu Sanitary LandfillDidipio Gymnasium In response to the blockade, the community resorted to the following action:July 3 dialogue with MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano and DENR Key Officials to show support for FTAA renewalVarious dialogues with BLGU and MLGU August 6 dialogue with Governor Padilla to recall his order in restraining the operationIn summary, OGPI is actively working with the national government in finalising the renewal to ensure another 25 years of operation. The company is also involved in continuous efforts to try and engage with the Provincial Government, continuous community support for the renewal, and continuous legal process on the Governor’s restraint order. OGPI stated that they remains focused on the safety of workers and the environment.When the Didipio Operation started in 2013, it became a catalyst for an enormous economic transformation and development. OGPI’s major initiative was to contribute to the local economy through the construction of a PhP43-million senior high school building at Eastern Nueva Vizcaya National High School. [1]OceanaGold Philippines Inc. is a proud member of the UN Global Compact, which means absolute transparency in their commitment to the universal sustainability principles of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. This commitment is front and center of their corporate governance and at the heart of OGPI’s Didipio operations, because sustainability means earning the right to remain a valuable part of the community for many years to come. [1]#DidipioMine #OceanaGoldPH #ResponsibleMining #PhilippinesReference:[1] Retrieved from OceanaGold Philippines Inc. Facebook page[2] Magdaong, Jason. (3 September 2019). “Didipio Mine: The Renewal of the Philippines’ First FTAA”. Presentation during the Monthly Membership Meeting of the Philipping Mining and Exploration Association (Manila Elks Club, Makati City)

Mining

Philippine Resources - August 20, 2019

The PH Mining Club Celebrates its 50th Luncheon Anniversary

By Marcelle P. VillegasSince April 2011, the Philippine Mining Club has been a professional networking forum that brings industries together and creating opportunities. The club was established to form better relationships across all areas of the Philippine mining industry. Moreover, the Philippine Mining Club is affiliated with the globally-recognised Melbourne Mining Club.Their goal is "to uphold a professional networking environment in order to promote the mineral industry for those with an interest in the sector." In celebration of the club's milestone 50th luncheon event, Philippine Resources Journal has this exclusive interview with Mr Kevin Lewis and Mr Alexander Gilles, two important people behind the Philipine Mining Club.Creating a mining club in the Philippines that was patterned after the Melbourne Mining Club had its share of challenges and rewards. As a platform for communication among the industry's experts, executives, investors, government officials, media and students, the Philippine Mining Club has an interesting story behind its origin. Mr Kevin Lewis, General Manager of Philippine Mining Club, hails from Australia and has been living in the Philippines for almost 20 years now. In 2009, Mr Lewis and a partner decided to start a new venture called "World Resources Events and Consultancy Inc." which catered as a consultancy to the resources services industry with business development planning. [1] Due to many requests from people in the industry, the event side started with the concept of "Philippine Mining Club" which has brought to the lunchtime networking circuit many of the Philippine and international industry leaders as guest speakers, all under the banner of responsible mining. [1]PRJ: When you first established the Philippine Mining Club, what was your goal or motivation for the events? Could you share with us how it all started?Mr Lewis: "The motivation was, at that time... I personally was at a loose end with my career at that time. It was also because my previous job included being part of a service area to mining and oil and gas. I identified the mining industry and oil and gas sectors as the ideal customers because they really didn't mince their words. They knew what they wanted. They knew when they wanted it, and they would tell you that. And most of all, the best thing was when it came to being paid, they always paid you. So I identified them as a group of people that we could always rely on as being good, A-class customers." "Because I've been dealing with the miners and mining groups and the oil and gas for so long, the relationship developed from being client to friends. And when they found out that I was leaving my previous job, they asked me what I was going to do next. At that time, I said I'm not too sure. Then, some of them asked me to see if I wanted to start a club for them -- a mining club.""And one of those gentlemen was Gavan Collery from Indophil at that time and he was a founding director of the Melbourne Mining Club. When he heard the others saying that they want a 'mining club', he said, 'Well the Melbourne Mining Club could use the Philippines as an affiliate.' So then we developed our relationship with the Melbourne Mining Club. We were lucky because, of course, Melbourne Mining Club is globally recognised and is the largest mining club globally, so we're quite privileged to be part of that." "So my motivation was the people that developed from clients to friends and with the support of the Melbourne Mining Club." PRJ: During the early days of the Philippine Mining Club, what were some of the challenges or difficulties that you and your team have encountered?Mr Lewis: "Some of the difficulties was doing it in the Philippines. At first, the Filipino people really did not understand what it was. They thought a club involved membership fees and all of those things that you would normally associate with a club. However, like the Melbourne Mining Club, the word 'club' is used loosely. It means that becoming a member simply meant that you want to be listed our mailing list. There are no fees to be a member. It is totally free. That was one challenge."PRJ: Tell us about your first ever mining luncheon event.Mr Lewis: "For our first mining luncheon ever on 8th of April 2011, we had Fernando Moya who was the Country Manager of Vale Exploration Philippines at that time. He was our first speaker and we had a full house! I think we had 180 to 200 people at the venue. We did have quite a few months lead after that particular event." "Once that event was finished, we had several companies come up to us who said that they wanted to be our marketing partners and sponsors. Therefore, we started there. We had a little bit more money in the bank to keep developing it and to develop our website. The Mining Club has never made a profit, so it is the support from the industry and the sponsors that make it happen. Without them, we have a short fall because we have students and CSR programs to support. We couldn't support the idea of the club without the help of the sponsors."PRJ: Could you mention some memorable moments or notable guest from the past luncheon events?Mr Lewis: "Yes, I can say we've had some speakers who really gripped the audience. One in particular was a gentleman called Mitch Hooke who was at the time the Chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia. He came all the way from Melbourne to speak and he had a clear cut view on the mining industry as it is in Australia. As you might know, Australia is one of the leading mining countries in the world. The mining industry in Australia is pretty much black and white. It is pretty clear." "When he was introduced to the challenges that we face in the Philippines, he could not believe some of the hurdles facing the industry. So he actually opened up and said his mind about some of these hurdles and how he would have dealt with them. While he was talking, you could have heard a pin drop! The audience was mesmerized by his words.""I consider all of our speakers notable. Some of the others were Gerry Brimo from Nickel Asia Corporation. He gave his initial rebuttal to Gina Lopez that was prior to Lopez being the DENR Secretary, so that was quite a few years before that. That was an interesting talk.""Mick Wilkes has always been a good talker from OceanaGold, with the Didipio Project being their blue ribbon mine in there. He is always very happy to be here in the Philippines and he talked about how much he loves the Philippines. But he also talked about how much he thinks the Philippines misses out due to some of the regulations and some of the attitudes toward mining." "Another one is Mr Walter Brown who has spoken twice here. He is a good man and an intelligent man. Walter doesn't mince his words either. He is very clear cut on how he thinks things should be."Finally, Mr Lewis shares his special message about Philippine Mining Club and its media partner, Philippine Resources Journal. "I believe that literally the Philippines is sitting on a gold mine. I also believe that eventually they are going to discover that again. I said 'again' because it has in the past, but there will be a rebirth of the industry. For those people who continually support the Philippine Mining Club, they all know something is going to happen. The ones that will win are the people that believe that things will change in the Philippines and stick with it. Now, with respect to the Philipine Mining Club, I think the more people, the merrier. The more friendships they make, the more business I will be doing in the future.""We have always supported Philippine Resources Journal since the beginning. I think the journal has been on as long as Philippine Mining Club has been going... The magazine, Philippine Resources Journal, has been able to sustain itself during this period -- very tough time. And it is still the magazine of choice and it is still here." On our next edition, part 2 of the Philippine Mining Club 50th Luncheon Anniversary series, we shall feature stock market expert, Mr Alexander Gilles.Reference:[1] Retrieved from Philippine Mining Club website - http://www.philippineminingclub.com/

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Mining

Philippine Resources - August 11, 2019

Murad encourages 'pro-people, pro-environment' mining in Bangsamoro

Bangsamoro Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim encouraged mining companies to consider investing in mining operations in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).Speaking at a luncheon in Makati organized by the Philippine Mining Club on Friday, August 9, Murad also emphasized that the Bangsamoro government will only approve mining operations that respect the people and the ecological integrity of the new southern region."I invite you to explore opportunities on mining to bolster the economic development of the Bangsamoro," he told mining executives and leaders of mining groups."I hope that we do this with the lens of the 4 bottomlines that I have outlined. Profit, yes, but please include also the people, the planet, and the purpose for all this which is change for the good," Murad continued.Also in the audience were European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen, New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan, and Australian Ambassador Steve Robinson – envoys of countries with mining interests in the Philippines.The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim government of the Bangsamoro, is honoring mining contracts entered into by the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said Murad.Mining audit, mining codeThe Bangsamoro Organic Law gives the BTA the power to grant mining permits for operations in the region.But before it exercises this power, the Bangsamoro government would first conduct an audit of mining operations in the region to ensure compliance to environmental regulations and other laws.The audit is to be led by BARMM Minister of Environment Abdulraof Macacua."In order for the administration to measure the impact of mining industry in the lives of our people, the BARMM Minister of Environment and Natural Resources constituted the mining performance audit team that will look into the compliance of these mining companies to their commitments, both in environmental and social contributions," said Murad. He told the mining executives that the mining audit shouldn't be seen as an effort to "find holes" in the mining industry but to "provide an avenue for a better, pro-environment, pro-people and responsible mining in the BARMM." Murad called the mining code the "responsible mining law.""This mining code shall address robust development, not at the expense of the environment," said the Chief Minister.Murad expects the audit results to be in by August and to be set for discussion by the Bangsamoro Parliament in September.The audit results would be among the considerations in crafting a Bangsamoro mining code, also to be led by Macacua.Macacua had been Murad's military chief, leading the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). He is also known by the name Sammy Gambar. Source: https://www.rappler.com/nation/237422-murad-encourages-pro-people-environment-mining-bangsamoro

Mining

Philippine Resources - May 29, 2019

MGB’s Mining Updates on Proposed Revisions of Existing Mining Laws

1 April 2019 - Philippine Mining and Exploration Association, for their Monthly Membership Meeting at Manila Elks Club, Makati City, presented the “Mining Updates and Open Forum Discussion on Proposed Revisions of Existing Mining Laws”.The topic was discussed and reported by Atty. Danilo U. Uykieng, Acting Assistant Director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). The meeting started with a review of recent policies that were signed in 2017 onwards. Here is a rundown of policies and its development, plus a summary of events that transpired and affected the Philippine mining operations.A Review of Recent PoliciesOct. 9, 2017 - Memorandum was issued by MGB Director providing "streamlined" checklists of requirements of various mining applications. May 25, 2018 - MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2018-01 was issued in re: Guidelines in the Conduct of Apprehension, Seizure, Confiscation and Disposition of Illegally Sourced Minerals/Mineral Products and By-Products, Tools, Conveyances and Equipment Used.June 18, 2018 - Issued DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2018-05 in re: Non-Coverage of Small-Scale Mining Projects from the Department Memorandum Order No. 2016-01.July 3, 2018 - DENR Administrative Order No. 2018-13 in re: Lifting of the Moratorium on the Acceptance, Processing and/or Approval of Applications for Exploration Permit Under Department Memorandum Order No. 2016-01.July 3, 2018 - Issued MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2018-02 in re: Guidance for Compliance Monitoring and Rating/Scorecard of Mining Permits/Contracts.July 17, 2018 - DENR Administrative Order No. 2018-20 in re: Providing for a New Guidelines in the Evaluation and Approval of the Three-Year Development/Utilization Work ProgramAug. 17, 2018 - Issued DENR Administrative Order No. 2018-19 in re: Guidelines for Additional Environmental Measures for Operating Surface Metallic MinesMarch 2019 Policy Issuance1) MGB Memorandum Circular re: Clarification Guidelines on Industrial Sand and Gravel Permit~ Providing for clarification on the coverage of ISAGP i.e. permit area2) MGB Memorandum Circular re: Supplemental Guidelines to MGB MC 2018-01 Otherwise known as Guidelines in the Apprehension, Seizure, Confiscation and Disposition of Illegally Sourced Minerals/Mineral Products and By-Products, Tools, Conveyances and Equipment Used~ Additional provisions for conveyance, release, posting of bond, establishment of confiscation panel3) MGB Memorandum Order re: Guidelines for Care and Maintenance Programs for Mining Projects~ Provides for the mandatory submission of a CMP~ Assures fund allocation~ Provides for penalties for certain violations4) DENR Administrative Order re: Guidelines on the Disposition of Residual Stockpiles Sourced from Small-Scale Mining Operations Previously Covered by Valid Mining Permits Issued Pursuant to PD 1899 and Temporary Small-Scale Mining Contracts under DAO 2012-07.~ Provides clear guidelines on the disposition procedures and timelines- - -Recent Inter-Agency CoordinationJoint Memorandum Circular: Guidelines on the Issuance of Clearance and/or Permit for Dredging within Waterways or other Inland Body or Water.~ Provides for a standard and uniform procedures in the approval of dredging/mining permitPolicy Directions:Guiding Principle - Ours is a Responsible Mining that is:1) People-Oriented as it provides decent jobs and benefit host communitiesUpcoming Policy Issuances:~ Expediting the approval of Minahang Bayan and processing of SSM Contracts~ Ensuring timely release of the share of LGUs~ Ensure increasing LGUs' share and granting them direct access similar to existing arrangements with the PEZA2) It Protects and Enhances the Environment Upcoming Policy Issuances:~ Strict monitoring of the shipments of ores/minerals~ Strict implementation of Water Code and NWRB policies on the use of water in mining operations~ Strict enforcing ban on black sand mining in coastal areas3) Equipped with Strong Monitoring and Enforcement SystemUpcoming Policy Issuances:~ Strengthening of the Environmental National Task Force to stop illegal mining and environmental violations~ Use of modern technology in monitoring mine operations~ Blacklisting of irresponsible mining companies with major violations~ Cleansing of non-moving mining rights holders and review of existing mineral agreement for renegotiation of the terms and conditions~ Strengthening of the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT)~ Imposing one-strike policy to DENR officials for inability to monitor and take immediate actions on major violations4) It Contributes and Promotes fair share to the National IncomeUpcoming Policy Issuances:~ Amend EO 79 - lifting the moratorium on the grant of Mineral Agreement (MPSA)~ Declaring high mineral potential areas as mineral reservations including all existing operating mines~ Promoting establishment of mineral processing plants in the country~ Mandatory mineral processing of all nickel ore~ Finalizing the national program and road map for the development of value-adding activities and downstream industries for strategic metallic ores 5) World Class, efficient, effective and competitiveUpcoming Policy Issuances:~ Adoption of new technology to maximize mineral ore utilization and environment protection~ Requiring all operating mines to have ISO certifications~ Options and alternatives on open pit mining methods

Mining

Philippine Resources - May 29, 2019

Nickel Initiative 2019 Highlights

By Marcelle P. Villegas18-19 March 2019 - Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) organised and launched The Nickel Initiative 2019 Conference at Shangri-la at the Fort in Taguig City. The event's objective is to provide a venue to discuss issues and potential opportunities or collaborations for the various industries that are involved in the nickel supply chain. The event also featured companies involved in the exploration, extraction and processing of nickel. According to PNIA, The Nickel Initiative 2019 Conference aims to open doors for improved networking and collaboration among stakeholders and industry players in the Philippines and abroad.Price, policy constraints and challenges were among the major issues discussed during the conference. The establishment of a roadmap for the industry was a goal mentioned by PNIA as they aim to leverage on the Philippine's position as the second biggest producer of the key input in stainless steel, mobile phones, transportation and electric vehicle batteries. This roadmap is intended to provide a foundation that would accelerate growth in the local nickel industry and to further contribute to the country's economic expansion. The roadmap will also address the industry's needed infrastructure, incentives, power, as well as peace and security. [1] The PNIA stated that they are hoping to finalize the nickel industry roadmap within a year. [2]The two-day event had attendees from local and global nickel stakeholders from the private and public sectors. Mr Clarence J. Pimentel, Jr., Conference Chair of The Nickel Initiative 2019, gave the Welcome Remarks. This was followed by Atty. Dante R. Bravo's message and Q&A portion with ANC's News Anchor, Mr Quintin Pastrana. Mr Pastrana is the President of WEnergy Global Pte Ltd., a graduate of University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and Georgetown University.The keynote speaker for Day 2 was the former Philippine President and currently the House Speaker, Honourable Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. From her speech, she mentioned her support for the industry and its endeavours. The House Speaker is hopeful that Congress will be able to pass the new fiscal regime measure for the mining sector before the end of 17th session of Congress in June. [1] This refers to the House Bill No. 8400 which she co-authored.For large-scale metallic and non-metallic mining operations outside of the mineral reservations, they will be required to pay the government a margin-based royalty on income from mining operation. It was noted that the rate is raised from 1.5% royalty to 5% royalty. This is from a 10% to a 70% margin. [1] On top of this, a royalty tax equivalent to 3% of the gross output of minerals or mineral products extracted or produced by the mining operation will also be imposed on large-scale metallic and non-metallic operations if this is located within mining reservation areas and this is exclusive of all other taxes. This means that they still have to pay corporate income tax.For small-scale mining, the House Speaker mentioned that the mining contractors within or outside mineral reservations will pay to the government a royalty equivalent to one-tenth of one percent of gross output. [3]She noted that the measure would generate around PHP22 billion for the government from the current PHP19 billion (or PHP18.71 billion) as well as an additional PHP3 billion from the royalties collection. With regards to mining royalty, she stated that the government will earn PHP2.57 billion instead of the current PHP1.13 billion. [3]Furthermore, the House Speaker said that HB 8400 was adopted by the Senate committee level with an objective to promote fairness by providing fiscal regime that is applicable to all existing and prospective large metallic and non-metallic, and small-scale mines. It shall be applied to all mines regardless of whether the mine is located outside or inside of mineral reservation. This measure would also "enhance the equitable share of the government in the utilization of natural resources without compromising the mining sector's need for reasonable return on its investment." [3] Mr Dante Bravo, President of PNIA, said that they welcome the measure. He hopes that the approval of the House Bill would eventually push the lifting of the moratorium on new mining permits. The House Speaker also noted that the local mining industry flourished under the present administration than it did during her regime despite the current President's stand on mining. "I have said that even under my successor, who was very strict about mining, the sector grew even more than it did in my time," she said. "That's what we want to do now. Even in today's policy and regulatory environment, we want to help the sector grow and contribute to national development." However, she emphasised that there should be a solid framework that will approximate the thinking of President Rodrigo Duterte. [3]In relation to President Duterte's message during his 2018 SONA, the House Speaker pointed out that raw materials from mining operations in the Philippines should be processed here. She said, "In line with the President's other statements regarding raw materials...your projects would ideally include processing facilities if not today, at least in the realistic future.”The House Speaker also proposed that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should also transform into a promoter of responsible mining aside from being a regulator. From her keynote speech, she emphasised as well the importance of educating the public on the aspect of land rehabilitation since there are several remarkable examples such as Berong Nickel, Coral Bay Nickel, and Rio Tuba in Palawan; Agatha Mining and SR Metals in Agusan del Norte, Taganito Mining in Surigao del Norte, Zambales Diversified Metals in Candelaria, Zambales.Hon. Arroyo also mentioned the old mined pit of Semirara which is now a blue lagoon after the company's marine rehabilitation efforts in the island. This environmental rehabilitation brought international attention and the company was awarded in 2015 as first runner-up in the Corporate Social Responsibility category of the Asean Energy Awards in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.After the speech of Hon. Arroyo, Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba of the Department of Trade and Industry gave a presentation about "Securing the Future of the Philippine Industries".On the second part of the morning session, the topic was "Discovering Nickel and Tomorrow's Industries". The presenters were Mr Paul White (Secretary General of International Nickel Study Group), Mr Edmund A. Araga (President of Electric Vehicle Association of the Phils.) and Mr Lawrence Liu (Tsingshan Holding Group Co., Ltd.). The afternoon session's topic was "The Next Generation of Innovators and R&D Champions" where a Q&A panel was moderated by TV host Mr RJ Ledesma. The panelists were Mr Earl Forlales (CEO and Founder of CUBO Modular) and Dr. Rogel Mari Sese (President of Regulus Space Tech Inc.). Mr Forlales presented an innovative and low-cost housing solution for the urban poor that uses bamboo as building material. It has a practical home design that is easy to assemble but durable for years. Dr. Sese talked about outer space mining and its legal implications on a global scale. He passed around to the audience a sample of a meteorite that landed in Russia which he said is composed mainly of nickel. The segment's moderator, Mr Ledesma has been popular in Philippine television since the late 1980s for appearances in various commercials and TV shows, representing Generation X with wit, humour and flair. He is a writer, editor and entrepreneur, co-founder of the successful Mercato Centrale food market, and the Honourary Vice Consul of Monaco to the Philippines. He is the first Asian to deliver the graduation speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a degree in Masters of Science in Real Estate Development. Other presenters for the afternoon session were Mr Cyrille Jouin (Glencore International AG), Mr Ian Hiscock (CRU Consulting Group) and Mr Weixun Huang (Ningbo Lygend Mining Co., Ltd.).Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas gave an insightful and informative closing keynote presentation titled “Nickel Mining Can Be Sustainable”. Dr. Villegas is an economist and professor at the University of Asia and the Pacific. He is also a book author and a leading expert in economics. Dr. Villegas is one of the best economists of the Philippines due to his unparalleled expertise and wisdom. From his speech, he emphasised the important role of the Philippine government in the survival and success of the local mining industry. - - - - -At the end of the day, with all the talks and sharing of ideas, studies and opinions, the success or failure of the Philippine nickel industry in solving its impending problems and challenges is dependent on how well the key players are able to differentiate between the best solutions from false limiting beliefs. After the conference, here are some thoughts, reactions and expert analyses from some of the delegates who attended the Nickel Initiative Conference 2019:- - - - -“I am convinced that nickel demand will continue to rise in the future. Profit can be made if we are properly positioned. Trading of nickel in the Philippines is a sustainable project or business. The initiative was good as the problems unique to the industry were identified and discussed and a possible solution was talked about. The event was also a fresh ground for meeting new contacts and renewal or updating with former acquaintances.” (Ms Audi Fabricante, Business Manager at Epitomo Holding Resources Pte Ltd. and Principal at Fahaodi Mining Consultancy)- - - - -"The Nickel Initiative conference was very informative. Current regional and world trends were covered by industry experts from various countries. The speakers were able to cover topics from nickel extraction to stainless steel usage and even emphasised the demand for raw materials for electric vehicles. Next time, I hope, in the next conference, there will be discussions on worldwide trends or sharing of best practices that companies adopt to minimize environmental and social impact of the mineral extraction and processing." (Ms Maan Baribar, Community and Public Relations Senior Manager of Sumitomo Metal Mining Philippine Holdings Corporation)- - - - -“During the conference, I heard lots of well-intentioned speeches but the challenge is for industry leaders and authorities to create a clear roadmap with practical steps to achieve quickly a shared vision. I hope that this will emerge soon because we need it. It seems that there was no Philippine company mentioned who is willing to put up a nickel processing plant locally to add value to the large laterite nickel resources of this country. Perhaps most companies prefer direct shipping of ore to overseas markets at prices of less than 10% of the contained nickel content. “Indonesia banned the shipment of laterite nickel ores in 2014 and now has over 25 companies operating or building processing plants, with the production of over 750,000 tpy nickel metal in product by 2023. All the Chinese producers who attended the Nickel Initiative stated they will NOT invest in the Philippines as they already have investments in Indonesia. Interestingly, Indonesian companies cannot export laterite ores unless they are building a processing plant. The same policy should be immediately implemented in the Philippines.“Nickel Asia/Sumitomo at their Coral Bay and Tanganito has been the only company in Asia processing local laterite nickel ores to produce raw materials for batteries. This company has been the sole producer for the last 15 years but is now at risk of being overtaken by the Indonesian companies as they start work on three planned HPAL plants. From a position of absolute advantage, the Philippines will lose its position in the battery sector. It has already lost the race in producing ferro-nickel or nickel pig iron and will never be able to compete with the Chinese companies in Indonesia. “Banning the immediate export of laterite nickel ores is the only way to force companies to invest for the future and for the benefit of the Filipino people. Without an immediate ban on exports, the fourth largest resource of laterite nickel and cobalt in the World will become irrelevant as we watch our Asian neighbors grow to lead the world in battery materials production and stainless steel production from laterite ores,” (Mr George Bujtor, 12th April 2019) Mr Bujtor is a prominent mining executive from Australia with 23 years of experience in various roles such as General Manager and Managing Director in Rio Tinto, Australia. He is an expert in the technical, financial and commercial aspects of mining operations. In the Philippines, he was the CEO of Toledo Mining Corporation in 2005 where he developed in record time, commercialized and operated the Berong Nickel Mine in Palawan. He was also the CEO of Carmen Copper Corporation in 2009 (under Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation), the largest porphyry gold-copper producer in the Philippines. He has a degree with honours in BASc Geology, Mining and Metallurgy; Master's Degree in Mineral Economics; Master's Degree in Mining Engineering and M.B.A. Mr Bujtor is currently the CEO of Electric Metals Limited. -----References:[1] Rodriguez, Bruce (19 March 2019). "Policy and global metal price constraints tackled at Nickel Initiative 2019" on ANC 24/7. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/ANCalerts/videos/607666546327913/[2] Retrieved from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1065046[3] Ison, Lilybeth (19 March 2019). "Arroyo optimistic about bill on new fiscal regime for mining". Retrieved from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1065024

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