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Philippine Resources - March 18, 2019
GEOCON highlights the role of Filipino Geologists
By Marcelle P. Villegas Highlighting the achievements and challenges in the field of geology, The Geological Society of the Philippines (GSP) presented the 2018 Annual Geological Convention (GeoCon) last December 11-12, 2018 at The Manila Hotel. GSP is a duly accredited integrated professional organization for geologists. The theme for this event is “Building the Country, Securing the Future, The Role of Filipino Geologists”. The exhibit and convention was held at the hotel’s Fiesta Pavilion which had over 900 attendees from different parts of the country.The Welcome Remarks was given by Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr. who is the Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change of the Philippines, Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Mr Alberto P. Morillo, 2018 President of the Geological Society of the Philippines, introduced the keynote speaker, Honorable Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara, Senator and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government/ Ways and Means.Senator Angara’s speech highlighted many important and critical topics surrounding the mining industry and the country’s Science and Technology (S&T) status in general. He started by thanking the Filipino scientists and S&T professionals for the important role they play in powering our economy forward. Then he wished them to have a long life and an appeal for them to stay in the country. "Sadly, people like them are fast becoming a rare breed here in the Philippines," he states."We continue to lose our best and brightest… We may be exhibiting among the world's fastest economic growth rates but we remain among the world's top labor-exporters, with close to 10 million of our people working in greener pastures abroad."He said that these migrant workers may bring important dollar remittance to the Philippines which keeps our macroeconomic position stable, but their talents and skills are utilized by another country rather than here where they are much needed."A 2017 ADB report found that of all the 2.79 million tertiary-educated ASEAN nationals who migrated to OECD countries between 2010 and 2011, around 1.55 million or 55.3% were Filipinos. Among ASEAN countries, we sent abroad the biggest number of educated professionals comprising a significant brain drain. In fact, we sent to OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries a little more than three times as many as the second largest labor-exporting ASEAN country--Vietnam with 539,000."Additionally, he noted, "By some measure, I am sure that such brain drain is also felt in the industries and research areas where the members of the Geological Society of the Philippines are involved."Sen. Angara discussed the following topics:1) Failure to create high-paying, S&T-driven jobs - He stressed the general inability of our economy to create high-paying jobs in the field of science and technology. For this reason, most professionals in the scientific field (like geologists, engineers, etc.) end up working in New Zealand, Australia, Canada or UK for more lucrative jobs.2) "But even government-research positions are unattractive." - The Senator stated that, "Our top scientists, engineers and researchers are forced to find opportunities abroad where their talents are well-compensated. A National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) July 2014 press release said that since the Scientific Career System was institutionalized in 1983, only 147 career scientists have entered the system -- or little less than 5 new scientists each year for 31 years. Worse, out of the 147, only 47 were actually active in government."Sen. Angara mentioned that they worked to respond to the issue by co-authoring amendments to the Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers and Researchers (still pending in the House of Representatives) to counter this. He says that this entails removal of limits on honoraria or additional salary that scientists can receive from grants-in-aid projects, expanding the coverage to include non-DOST S&T personnel (such as the R&D employees of the DA), and granting five-year extensions to those up for mandatory retirement. 3) “This needs to be rectified soon because the lack of attractive S&T jobs in the country dissuades many of our youth from pursuing S&T courses.”4) “Such situation is unfortunate especially when S&T can play such a big role in solving many of the challenges we face today. Geologists and Geoscientists in particular could help the nation in any number of ways.”Additionally, he emphasised the significant roles of geologists in addressing more issues in the country such as, disaster risk reduction (in preparation for “The Big One” earthquake), infrastructure build-up, responsible mining, and energy security. Sen. Angara also emphasised the importance of making education available to all to provide opportunities to more children so they will be encouraged to pursue a career in Science and Technology. Several technical papers and studies were presented for the two-day convention. “Landslides in Itogon, Benguet: The Triggers and Causes” was discussed by M. Madrigal et al. Another interesting topic presented was the “Typhoon Ompong-Induced Landslides and Debris Flows in the Mine Claims and Host Barangays of Itogon-Suyoc Resources Inc. in Itogon and Mankayan, Benguet Province: Emergency Preparedness Initiatives” by G. Rostata et al.The environmental issue in Boracay was discussed by R. Agot et al with their study titled “Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Investigation of Buried Pipes along White Beach and Bulabog Beach, Boracay Island, Municipality of Malay, Aklan Province.” Their presentation revealed photos which are striking evidence on how certain restaurants and resorts in Boracay have violated environmental rules and guidelines in managing their wastewater. For Session 5 of day 1 of GeoCon 2018, the special guest speaker was Ms Marites Danguilan Vitug, RAPPLER’s Editor-at-Large and author of the book “Rock Solid: How the Philippines won Its Maritime Case against China”. Atty. Fernando Penarroyo, moderator of Session 5 described the book, “‘Rock Solid’ narrates the complicated maritime dispute by providing previously unreported details on the developments before and after the July 2016 arbitral decision.” The author discussed her book during the event. Ms Vitug is a former editor of Newsbreak magazine. She won numerous awards such as the Philippine National Book Award in Journalism for her books “Power from the Forest: the Politics of Logging” and “Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao” with Glenda M. Gloria. She also received the Courage in Journalism Award by the International Women’s Media Foundation (U.S.A.) for her work that exposes plunder of Palawan forests. Her book with Criselda Yabes titled “Jalan Jalan:A Journey through EAGA” was chosen by Asiaweek as one of the best books on Asia in 1999. Election for the 2019 GSP Officers and Trustees also took place during the GeoCon 2018. The induction of newly elected officers, trustees and committed chairs was held later in January 31, 2019 at PHIVOLCS Auditorium. This year’s GSP Officers and Trustees are the following: President: Dr. Carla B. Dimalanta (President), Dr. Teresito C. Bacolcol (Vice-President), Dr. Jillian Aira S. Gabo-Ratio (Secretary), Dr. Victor B. Maglambayan (Treasurer), Dr. Karlo L. Queaño (Assistant Secretary), and Trustees Mr. Ciceron C. Angeles, Jr., Dr. Rene Juna R. Claveria, Dr. Betchaida D. Payot and Atty. Marissa P. Cerezo.This year will be an exciting time for GSP as they prepare for the 75th year anniversary in 2020. GSP will also be hosting the GEOSEA conference on the same year. Acknowledgement:Thank you to Atty. Ronnie Penarroyo, Ms Marites Danguilan Vitug, Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr., and Ms Dianne Kay Orquina Namit.
Philippine Resources - March 18, 2019
Shortlist Announced: Mines and Money Asia Outstanding Achievement Awards
Considered to be Asia’s most prestigious mining investment awards and a highlight in the Asian mining calendar, the annual Mines and Money Outstanding Achievement Awards are where ‘the best of the best’ in the Asia Pacific region receive recognition for their achievements in the past year.Nominated by industry peers and chosen by an esteemed panel of judges, these awards are designed to recognize excellence and outstanding achievement over a wide cross-section of the Asia Pacific mining and investment sector.Sponsored by SRK , this year we recognise six areas of excellence: Asia-Pacific Mining Executive of the Year, North American Mining Executive of the Year, Asia-Pacific Mining Exploration Executive of the Year, Asia-Pacific Mining Deal of the Year, Asia Pacific Exploration Mining Company of the Year, and Asia-Pacific Mining Company of the Year.The 2019 Shortlisted Nominees are:Asia-Pacific Mining Executive of the YearRecognizing outstanding achievement by a mining company CEO or MD who oversaw a major financial or operational improvement for a mining company, either headquartered or operating in Asia-Pacific.Nominees:· Bill Beament, Northern Star· John Lamb, Myanmar Metals· Jake Klein, Evolution Mining· Graham Kerr, South 32· Paul Flynn, Whitehaven Coal· Simon Finnis, Metro MiningNorth American Mining Executive of the YearRecognizing outstanding achievement by a mining company CEO or MD who oversaw a major financial or operational improvement for a mining company, either headquartered or operating in North America.Nominees:· Michael O’Keeffe, Champion Iron· Steve Letwin, IAMGOLD· Peter Kukielski, Nevsun Resources· Anthony Makuch, Kirkland Lake Gold· Sean Roosen, Osisko Royalties· Mark Bristow, BarrickAsia-Pacific Mining Exploration Executive of the YearA CEO or MD of an exploration company either headquartered or operating in Asia-Pacific, who oversaw a noteworthy exploration in the past year in either greenfield or brownfield discoveries.Nominees:· Bharat Parashar, Ceylon Graphite· Steve Parsons, Bellevue Gold· Graham Carmen, Tinka Resources· Mike Young, Vimy Resources· Sam Riggall, CleanTeq· Carl Dumbrell, Herencia Resources· Jonathan (Sam) Spring, Kincora Copper· Rob Humphryson, Novo Resources· Nick Mather, SolGoldAsia-Pacific Mining Deal of the YearA notable takeover, listing, merger or acquisition.Nominees:· Northern Star· Nevsun Resources – Zijin Mining· Rio TintoAsia-Pacific Exploration Mining Company of the YearAwarded to an exploration company either headquartered or operating in Asia-Pacific who made a noteworthy greenfield or brownfield discovery in the last year.Nominees:· Ceylon Graphite· Bellevue Gold· Tinka Resources· Vimy Resources· CleanTeq· Herencia Resources· Kincora Copper· Novo Resources· SolGoldAsia-Pacific Mining Company of the YearAwarded to a mining company either headquartered or operating in Asia-Pacific who provided great value to shareholders, outperformed its peers and continued to strengthen its core assets.Nominees:· Evolution Mining· Kirkland Lake· Myanmar Metals· South 32· China Molybdenum· MMC· Whitehaven Coal· Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia“We had a record number of entries this year across all award categories and congratulate all of those companies and individuals who have made it on the shortlist for this year’s awards” said Mike Hill, Commercial Director Asia for Mines and Money. All registered delegates of Mines and Money Asia are invited to join us at the 12th annual Mines and Money Asia Outstanding Achievement Awards Reception on Wednesday 3 April 2019, taking place at Island, Shangri-La Hotel where the winners in each of the respective categories will be announced.
Philippine Resources - March 18, 2019
Super Grass Bamboo presents promising future
By Marcelle P. VillegasMost of us have the impression that bamboo is only useful in building nipa huts or creating furniture. There is actually far more about this plant than most of us are aware of. Let’s begin as far back as the 1950s when bamboo technology was used in aviation. Do you know that a Filipino named Antonio De Leon designed two airplanes in 1950s using WOBEX (Woven Bamboo Experimental), a resin reinforced woven bamboo composite? He was from the Institute of Science and Technology (IST), a national science board previously known as Bureau of Science (1905, from the American era), the predecessor of our present-day Department of Science and Technology (DOST).Mr. De Leon’s first experimental aircraft was the I.S.T. XL-14 Maya, a single-engine, light aircraft designed to investigate the use of indigenous materials in aircraft construction.  He later designed the I.S.T. XL-15 Tagak (swan) using the same WOBEX technology. This is a single-engine, twin-boom, high-wing monoplane. It made its first flight in October 1954. This project was a collaboration with the Philippine Air Force with a goal to design an aircraft for utility, liaison, medical emergency, and a test bed for the use of local materials in aviation. Tagak (1954). Institute of Science and Technology’s [IST] Antonio De Leon designed these two experimental airplanes using WOBEX (Woven Bamboo Experimental), a technology that uses reinforced bamboo as materials in aviation. IST was founded in 1946 which aims to develop science and technology in the country. It was later named National Science Development Board in 1958. Eventually in 1981, President Marcos reorganised its agencies with a new name, National Science and Technology Authority. Then, it was later renamed as Department of science and Technology (DOST) by President Corazon Aquino in 1987.Bamboo is also called a “Super Grass”. Yes, a super grass that presents sustainable solutions from rehabilitation of mined-out land. It also offers proven ecological solutions to climate change and social economic problems. No other plant offers the same package in such a short period of time.Ahead of its time, nearly 70 years ago, bamboo-technology was already used for aviation. Today, there are many fascinating stories on how bamboo can impact our country’s advancement, not only with bamboo technology, but manifold social enterprises and agro-industries that grow from planting bamboo with the end in mind.These powerful topics were discussed by Atty. Leo G. Dominguez during the Mining Philippines Conference in September 2018. Atty. Dominguez connected the dots for many people in several sectors of society (such as the mining industry) with the introduction of high value product design, planting programs, social enterprise manufacturing, and how holistic agriculture can greatly benefit from the super grass.Atty. Dominguez presented a report entitled “Bamboo: From Advocacy to Changing the Conversation about Mining in the Philippines”. He is the President of OLLI Consulting Group, Inc. and an advocate in promoting the bamboo’s socio-economic importance and its role in the mining industry.He began his report by comparing the super grass with trees. Trees are only useful if they are fruit-bearing and can offer economic value to a community. “If trees are planted within Mining Communities but if they are not fruit bearing, they will eventually be cut down in the name of poverty, mainly for firewood, or the freshly-planted forest could mysteriously burn down, so that the community that planted the initial trees would be paid again to replant them. Since the bamboo is not a tree (but is actually classified as a grass in Botany), it has qualities that make it a compelling, lucrative and sustainable alternative,” he stated.Bamboo is coined as a “Super Grass” because it is the fastest-growing plant in the world. It can grow up to 35 inches a day in ideal conditions. Bamboo addresses climate change by sequestering carbon 400 times more than trees, and reducing carbon release. In general, bamboo is flexible and adaptive. If offers restoration to mined out areas and provides numerous possibilities for livelihood enterprises.Moreover, Atty. Dominguez stated that, “Because bamboo is a grass, it is not subject to the heavy government regulations affecting the cutting of trees. Depending on species, soil and climate conditions, bamboo can live about 60-100 years. Bamboo can be harvested continuously during its lifetime.”He then asked the audience, “Now, what does bamboo have to do with mining?”Atty. Dominguez continued by saying, “In his talk before the Philippine Mining Luncheon on 8 June 2018, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (“DENR”) Secretary Cimatu emphasized that mining companies must use their Social Development Management Program (“SDMP”) funds to create truly sustainable economic activities for their mining communities. In his State of the Nation (“SONA”) Address in 2018, President Duterte said to the mining industry, ‘Do not just give me taxes. I can get it from other sources. Give me what needs to be given to my countrymen.’”In relation to this, we the following questions:1. How will the DENR achieve its commitment under the National Greening Program to plant 1 million hectares of bamboo to help address climate change?2. How will Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) implement its 3 years-in-the-making Bamboo Industry Development Roadmap without the land to do it on and the people/communities to do it with?3. How would the people in the mining communities achieve sustainable livelihoods even beyond the life of the mines?4. More importantly, how will the mined-out areas be greened to the satisfaction of the President?His answer to all of these? Bamboo - The Super Grass.Atty. Dominguez points out, “Now, how do we make bamboo the tool to reinvent mining? Bring together DENR, DTI, Design Center Philippines, DOST, Department of Agriculture, the mining industry -- a unifying target, a win-win for all.”Secretary Ramon Lopez of DTI and Chair of the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council pointed out that if the mining industry would contribute mined out and other available areas for planting bamboo, and then work with DENR, all can work together under the DTI Bamboo Roadmap and their applications. The DTI Bamboo Roadmap covers the following:1. planting technology2. identifying low to high value bamboo products3. training the community to design and manufacture these products4. assisting in the marketing of bamboo products to pre-targeted buyers and consumersThe next big question: “Who will fund the planting of bamboo and the training of the mining communities to work with bamboo?”The funds will come from the mining companies who are required by law to spend specified amounts on their respective Environment Protection and Enhancement Programs (“EPEP”) and SDMP’s.There are many misinformed people who seriously believe that mining is bad for the country. How can the bamboo industry change this negative conversation about mining? From his report, Atty. Dominguez states, “Bamboo will not only be a source of sustainable livelihood. With inputs from all the partners involved in the Bamboo Roadmap, bamboo has the potential to launch the mining communities into agro-industrial enterprises of the future. This bamboo rocket ship would not be possible without the mining industry as the launch pad for all these endeavors.”What about the money? How profitable is a bamboo plantation?Based on his study and report, a family that farms 10 hectares of bamboo plantation has potential income, as follows:~ Cost/10 hectares = Php960,000~ Revenue/10 hectares = Php6.3 million~ 1 hectare contains 210 bamboo clumps~ price/bamboo = Php100~ 210 x 30 x Php6.3 million gross value of poles/10 hectaresTherefore, projected net family income/year/10-hectare bamboo plantation = Php1.4 millionHow does this “super grass” connect Mines and Agriculture?Historically, mining companies first remove minerals that normally make mineralized lands inhospitable to agriculture. “These minerals eventually make their way into things that we use like our cars, jewelry, cellphones and devices, refrigerators, watches, houses, and so on. After this, mining companies are required to rehabilitate and transform the mined-out land into agricultural land. Then, mining companies plant trees to fulfill their obligation to re-vegetate the mined-out area.”Land rehabilitation has always been a part of mining operations of responsible mining companies, and yet many misinformed people blame mining for the loss of agriculture land.Atty. Dominguez clarifies that, “One of the major problems of our country is that it is rapidly losing food-producing agricultural land to real estate development. The mines actually generate agricultural land. The mining industry has in fact, all along, been addressing the loss of agricultural land to real estate by transforming mineral lands (which by their nature are not good for agriculture in the first place) into agricultural lands.”He suggests that mining companies can take this further if they accomplish the following:~ Help the country comply with its commitment to plant bamboo to address climate change;~ For the first time, plant something that can be harvested and used by their mining communities in many ways to generate sustainable livelihoods for their communities;~ Provide the mining communities with long-term sustainable enterprises that can go on beyond the life of the mine.With regard to the overall reputation of the mining industry, bamboo could be a crucial catalyst that can change the way people see the industry. “The success of mining companies could also be evaluated by how successful mining communities, [who are] working with bamboo, have become.”In summary, in his presentation, Atty. Dominguez, emphasized the following:~ The mining industry is an unsung hero. It actually transforms non-agricultural to agricultural land.~ When you plant bamboo on this newly-created agricultural land, you actually launch sustainable social enterprises and economic empowerment for the mining communities.~ Over time, even beyond the life of the mine, these communities could become agro- industrial port cities of the Filipino future.He concludes, “All of this would not be possible without the mining industry as the launch pad, working in collaboration with the DENR, DTI, and hopefully the DOST and the DA as well.”References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_in_the_Philippines and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Science_and_Technology_(Philippines) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.S.T._XL-14_Maya https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.S.T._XL-15_TagakAcknowledgment:Mr Leo G. Dominguez and Mr Christopher Lacson
Philippine Resources - March 15, 2019
Bezant Resources pursuing creation of Mankayan Copper Gold Mine
UK mining Company Bezant has since the beginning of 2018 refocused towards the development of an international copper gold portfolio focused on the Mankayan project in Luzon. In this period Bezant with its partner and MPSA holder Crescent Mining and Development Corporation ( “Crescent”) has:Appointed a new Bezant management team led by Colin Bird and Laurence ReadIncoming Chairman of Bezant, Colin Bird, is founder and chairman of the highly successful Jubilee Metals, one of the UK’s most profitable independent metals companies and oversaw the exploration of the Kalumbila copper project in Zambia, which was sold to First Quantum for $260m. Alongside him Laurence Read was appointed as CEO, who has a track regard in a major independent mine development financing and transaction.With Crescent reassessed the extensive historical project dataThis has included site visits with strategic groups undertaking new, independent geological and engineering assessments, extensive relogging of historical drill data, creation of a fly through graded model of the resource and culminated in an economic report published in February 2019. Asked in Manilla recently for the rationale behind the strategic change towards Mankayan and the Philippines Laurence Read, CEO, said “Changing copper market dynamics means Mankayan is ready to be a standalone, underground mine and our focus is on delivering that. Copper is about to see a major upheaval in price due to demand issues and the Mankayan project is a tier 1 asset which you can drive directly to from Manilla airport.“The Mankayan project has grid power access, infrastructure, a highly skilled work force and as a block cave underground mine with a long life is not affected by the current Philippine restrictions on open pit mining. Over the last ten years the world copper supply shortage and improvements in mining techniques have meant that sustainable mining grades have fallen from 1% plus copper equivalent to slightly over 0.6% in just a decade. This means Mankayan with a life of mine copper equivalent grade of 0.63% to 0.65% depending on mining strategy is an attractive proposition with a Snowden resource estimate defining an indicated resource of 1.1 million tonnes of contained copper and 3.7 million ounces of contained gold and an inferred resource of 0.2 million tonnes of contained copper and 0.6 million ounces of contained gold.Highlights of the new independent economic study by Mining Plus released in February 2019 are11 different mining strategies modelledFor the first time, a Sub-Level Caving (“SLC”) ‘stepping stone’ scenario, with two main Block Caving (“BC”) routes identified for progression, with life of mine production grade in excess of 0.64% copper equivalent (“CuEq”).Various sub $19/t cost optionsThe study focused on delivering the project into production with highly robust copper equivalent production grade, with a high gold content and uniformly sub $19/t costs. The three main representative options summarized below, are taken from the 11 modelled (the option numbers being those used in the study) Asked what lay ahead in 2019 Laurence Read said; “We have a lot of important strategic decisions to make but what we aren’t worrying about is the copper and the gold in the ground or that this will be major mine for the Philippines. Picking the right path for the mid to long term is key for Crescent and Bezant, but whoever we work with to develop this mine will have access to significant amounts of physical, cost effective, copper and gold from Mankayan production and will be able to command a major strategic advantage in the global metals space for the next forty years.
Philippine Resources - March 12, 2019
Defending our territorial rights through historical facts
By Marcelle P. VillegasOn 7 May 2009, China submitted the Nine-dashed Lines Map to the United Nations. Their map gobbles up large areas of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. China’s Nine-Dashed Lines Map shows that China is claiming 85.7% of the entire South China Sea. Their claim covers 3 million square kilometers out of the 3.5 million square kilometers surface area of the South China Sea.  This is the root cause of the South China Sea dispute, because China did not provide a legal basis for the dashes. The dashes also had no fixed coordinates. With that, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia protested against China’s claim. This story is more than about defending our territorial or maritime rights. It is also of geological significance and fighting for our own natural resources. In January 2013, the Philippines formally initiated arbitration proceedings against the PRC’s claim on the territories within the “nine-dash line” that include the Scarborough Shoal. Justice Antonio T. Carpio, Senior Associate Justice of Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court, defended the Philippines’ right of ownership of the little islands within our territory to the international Arbitral Tribunal. His strategy in explaining our claim was simple – pointing out our legal rights through legitimate historical records. In his presentation “The South China Sea West Philippine Sea Dispute”, he enumerates several important facts about our territory.To begin with, what is the significance of the South China Sea to the world? There are US$5.3 trillion of ship-borne goods that travel through the South China Sea annually. This is almost one-half of the world’s shipborne trade in tonnage. A great percentage of the petroleum imports of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China pass through the South China Sea. The annual global fish catch from South China Sea is worth US$21.8 billion. Additionally, 2 billion people live in the 10 countries bordering the South China Sea where hundreds of millions of people depend on fish there for their protein. More importantly, maritime area that are close to the coast of the countries bordering the South China Sea are rich in oil and gas resources. South China Sea is also rich in methane hydrate which is a potential source of energy.  Over 250 small islands, atolls, shoals, reefs, cays and sandbars are located at the South China Sea. These small land area have no inhabitants. The features are grouped into three archipelagos namely, Macclesfield Bank, Scarborough Shoal, Pratas Islands, Paracel Islands and Spratly Island. How does the Nine-dashed Line Map affect the Philippines? The Philippines loses about 80% of its EEZ facing the West Philippine Sea. This includes the entire Reed Bank and part of the Malampaya gas field. This loss covers 381,000 square kilometers of maritime space and 100% of the Philippines’ ECS which covers an estimate of over 150,000 square kilometers of maritime space. In 2012, China seized Scarborough Shoal (Panatag) from the Philippines. It is a small ring of reefs that is located about 230 km from the Philippines, but 650 km from the nearest major Chinese land mass (southern island of Hainan province). Scarborough Shoal is rich in marine life where fishermen from the Philippines, China and Vietnam have been fishing for several years. It is in the Philippines EEZ. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Learn a little about your past, and you may end up with a pretty nice future”. Looking back in our history was indeed the winning strategy on how the west was won in this dispute. Here are some of the historical proofs and legal basis presented by Justice Antonio T. Caprio before the Tribunal.1. Official and unofficial maps of China from 1136 during the Song Dynasty until the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912 show that the southernmost territory of China has always been Hainan Island, and not the areas of the Nine-Dashed Lines. On the other hand, there are various official and unofficial maps of the Philippines from 1636 until 1933 that consistently illustrate that Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines. Centuries ago, the name of Scarborough Shoal was “Panacot” according to the Murillo Velarde Map in 1734. This was published in Manila while the Philippines was still a colony of Spain. 2. The Franciscans arrived in the Philippines in 1578. In 1695, the Coronelli Map of Southeast Asia (entitled Isloe dell’ Indie) shows the Spratlys as part of the Philippines. The map was illustrated by the Franciscan monk, Venetian Vincenzo Coronelli. The map was published in Venice in 1695. Coronellie is well-known for his accurate atlases and globes, and as the Father General of the Franciscan Order.3. In 1899, the map “Islas Filipinas, Mapa General Observatorio de Manila” was published in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Coast of Geodetic Survey. This old map resembles the modern Philippine map that we use today.4. In 1898, when the Philippine Revolution was about to end in victory to end 300 years of Spanish rule, Spain secretly sold the Philippines to the United State of America under what is known as the 1898 Treaty of Paris between Spain and the United States. This agreement did not include the little islands surrounding the main islands of the country, thus another treaty was made called the 1900 Treaty of Washington. 5. The Treaty of Washington entails that Spain had given to the United States “all title and claim of title, which (Spain) may have had at the time of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace of Paris, to any and all islands belonging to the Philippine Archipelago, lying outside the lines” of the Treaty of Paris. Therefore this agreement clarifies that Spain ceded Scarborough Shoal to the United States under the 1900 Treaty of Washington (or the Treaty between Spain and the United States for Cession of Outlying Islands of the Philippines, signed November 7, 1900).6. Additionally, Secretary Cordell Hull of the U.S. State Department mentioned in his Memorandum of July 27, 1938 to Harry Woodring, Secretary of War: “In the absence of evidence of a superior claim to Scarborough Shoal by any other government, the Department of State would interpose no objection to the proposal of the Commonwealth Government to study the possibilities of the shoal as an aid to air and ocean navigation.”Finally, on 4 July 1946, the Treaty of Manila has been signed granting the Philippines full independence from the United States of America.7. Scarborough Shoal was also used by the United States and the Philippine military as an impact range for their warships and warplanes from 1960s – 1980s. The International Maritime Organization of the United Nations was notified of such activities. During those years, there were no protests from any country about these activities.In conclusion, “The Philippines today is engaged in a historic battle to defend over 531,000 square kilometers of its maritime space (EEZ and ECS) in the West Philippine Sea, an area larger than the total land area of the Philippines of 300,000 square kilometers. This huge maritime space is part of Philippine national territory since the Constitution defines the ‘national territory’ to include ’the seabed, the subsoil, and other submarine areas’ over which the Philippines has ‘sovereignty or jurisdiction’. Under UNCLOS, the Philippines has ‘jurisdiction’ over this huge maritime space. Can the Philippines prevent China from gobbling up this huge maritime space? All citizens of the Philippines - both government personnel and private individuals – have a solemn duty to prevent the loss of this huge maritime space. It is a duty we owe to ourselves, and to future generations of Filipinos. The Historic Battle for the West Philippine Sea.”  (From the presentation of Justice Antonio T. Carpio)On 12 July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal in Netherlands agreed unanimously with the Philippines. They concluded that there is no evidence and "no legal basis for China to claim historic rights" over the area within the nine-dash line. The tribunal also judged that the PRC had caused "severe harm to the coral reef environment"  and had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its EEZ by interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration (such as restricting the Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal). PRC rejected this ruling. Their president Xi Jinping said that, "China's territorial sovereignty and marine rights in the South China Sea will not be affected by the so-called Philippines South China Sea ruling in any way", nevertheless the PRC would still be "committed to resolving disputes" with its neighbours. China afterwards sent more warships in the Scarborough Shoal. Disclaimer: Regarding “The South China Sea West Philippine Sea Dispute” by Justice Antonio T. Caprio – The views expressed in the presentation are the personal opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of the Philippine Government.References: “South China Sea Arbitral Award” - https://www.slideshare.net/SamGalope/south-china-sea-arbitral-award South China Sea - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_China_SeaScarborough Shoal - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarborough_Shoal Justice Antonio T. Carpio. “The South China Sea West Philippine Sea Dispute” - https://www.slideshare.net/SamGalope/lecture-the-south-china-sea-west-philippine-dispute-justice-antonio-t-carpio-philippine-social-science-center “5 facts on Scarborough Shoal” (8 Feb. 2017) by Agence France-Presse and ABS-CBN News - https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/02/07/17/5-facts-on-scarborough-shoal https://www.slideshare.net/7philippines/the-south-china-sea-west-philippine-sea-dispute Perez, Jane (12 July 2016). "Beijing's South China Sea Claims Rejected by Hague Tribunal". The New York Times. Tom Phillips, Oliver Holmes, Owen Bowcott (12 July 2016). "Beijing rejects tribunal's ruling in South China Sea case". The Guardian. "South China Sea: Tribunal backs case against China brought by Philippines". BBC. 12 July 2016.
Philippine Resources - March 12, 2019
How wars and historical events affected the mining industry
By Marcelle P. VillegasFor the past centuries, the mining industry in the Philippines was greatly affected by the changes of government or colonisers, events around the world and more. It seems that whenever there is war, there is also a rise in the demand in certain mineral resources or a fall in the production rate of some minerals.August is History Month in the Philippines as promoted by Government and Education sectors. The Philippines is rich in natural resources, cultural heritage and more noticeably, we are rich in history which brought progress or hindrance in economic growth through the years. Last August, during the Philippine Mining and Exploration Association (PMEA) Monthly Membership Meeting, one of the keynote speakers is Mr Hernulfo “Nonoy” Ruelo, Geologist Consultant. The title of his presentation is “Copper-Gold Discoveries and Mine in the Philippines - Understanding the Past, in order to make sense of the Current, and the Future”. It was a well-researched report and analysis on how historical events, like wars or change in leaders, affected the mining sector and the socio-economic status of the country. The presentation takes us back in time with some rare vintage photos from the past.During the pre-Spanish Period, the earliest use of metal in the Philippines by our Filipino ancestors was the use of copper for ornamentation, not for tools or currency. Other metals used were gold and tumbaga (copper alloyed with gold). “Gold was the major form of ‘currency’ among the early Filipinos and one of the first things they [ancestors] taught their children was the knowledge of gold and the weights with which they measured.” (From the book by Evelyn J. Caballero, 1996. “Gold from the Gods: Traditional small-scale miners in the Philippines”. Giraffe Books, Quezon City.( p 196 and 263) On note, the pre-colonial mining methods had no environmental impact on land, water, air and people.Pre-Spanish Period Mining in the Philippines started in the 3rd century when gold was traded with China and the Javanese empire where the height of this trade was during 12th to 14th century. The Chinese were the first foreign miners. Gold is both a commodity and a medium of exchange. When the Spaniards arrived in the 1521, gold was already being mined, traded and used as jewelry or ornamentation by the native Filipinos. In fact, 16th century Filipino noblemen were decked in gold.Colonial Period Under Spain 1500s - 1898: Paracale and Cordillera were the oldest goldfields. From 1500s - 1700s, gold was one of the tributes collected by the Spanish government and given to the King of Spain. In 1583 and 1595, an expedition was sent to mine in Cordillera but was a failure due to the resistance of the Igorots.“Gold mining before the coming of the Americans was primarily in the hands of enterprises organized in the Philippines by Spaniards and Chinese mestizos and Filipinos, with a few other companies trying, without success, to produce commercially.” (Ref. - Wirkus 1974)In 1600 to 1700, about 10,000 ounces of gold per annum were shipped to Spain, and the gold shipments to Spain increased from 1800 to 1895. For copper, the Spaniards opened the first copper mine in the country in 1842, called the Carawisan copper mine in Antique province. From 1864 to 1874, the Contrabro-Filipino Company operated Mankayan Copper Mine. Gold mining made its comeback in commerce in 1892 where concessions to foreigners were first granted. The British explorer, Frank Karuth of Philippine Mineral Syndicate, led the commercial-scale hard-rock and alluvial gold operations in Paracale District until 1895. (Ref. - Chaput 1987) Philippine Revolution 1896 – 1902: With the rise of the Philippine revolt against Spain, in 1896, mining operations at Paracale dwindled until 1902 when the Filipino-American War ended. The Organic Act of 1902 was created which organized companies, issued patents, and established the Geological & Mining Science Department. By 1927, gold was the third best export commodity and initiated by the Philippine (Manila) Stock Exchange.In the following years, the Mining Act of 1935 was released (Commonwealth Act 137) which introduced the Regalian Doctrine, the concept of Mining Lease, and the establishment of Bureau of Mines. The Americans invested US$ 34.2M in gold production. Mining for copper was reopened in 1936, the same time when the Japanese savvy for copper was high and led to the ‘discovery’ of the first large porphyry copper deposit in the country.Commonwealth Period 1937 - 1941: This period in Philippine history was considered a golden era when Manila was highly modernised and was one of the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia. In fact, in 1937, we had the best and well-equipped airport in the Southeast Asia, the Nielson Airport. (This is now Ayala Triangle Park in Makati City, and the original Nielson Tower is now “Blackbird” Restaurant.) Although this elegant airport was primary used as an aviation school, it also paved the way for trade and commerce for foreign investors. Philippine Airline made its first commercial flight in 1941, from Nielson Airport to Baguio. The Philippines was the largest gold producer in Asia and second only to California in world production. During the American period, 9 million oz of gold was produced from 1906 – 1941.Japanese Occupation 1942 – 1945: Being a colony of United States of America, the Philippines got itself involved in war against the Japanese who invaded Manila in 1942. The Japanese took over Lepanto and the Hixbar mines (Rapu-rapu) and was able to mine and extract 11,000 tonnes of copper. No gold production was recorded. With the aggressive strategies of conquering their neighboring countries, Japan was unstoppable that time in their collection of natural resources that were needed to fuel their warships and planes and the production of weapons. Battleships Musashi and Yamato where the two giants in naval power that made Japan feared by other nations. The two battleships were defeated though in the Philippines during the Battle in Leyte Gulf in October 1945 which paved the way to the Liberation of Manila and eventually the whole country.Post-war Reconstruction 1946 – 1954: Those post-war years were hard times for all war-torn countries. However, with the need for repairs infrastructure after WWII, there was an increase in the global demand for copper. Some gold mines in the Philippines were rehabilitated but the problems were lack of capital and low market demand. Copper production re-started in 1947. Since Manila was the ground zero and battlefield of the war that ended WWII in the Pacific (Battle of Manila in 1945), there were serious damages in the country’s economy and on the mining industry.Korean War 1954 – 1960: For the Filipino soldiers who fought the Japanese during WWII, the Korean War was the first time for them to fight a battle in a foreign land. Although this war affected Southeast Asia directly, the gold prices maintained. However, in mid 1950s, the gold mines collapsed due to a recession period. The copper price rose slight due to high world demand. More Philippine copper mines opened. Vietnam War 1960-1975: In 1972, U.S. President Nixon took dollar off the gold standard. It was fixed at $35 since 1934, but gold prices are allowed to float free which devalued dollar to $38. In 1973, world gold price jumped from $38 to $120. World copper rate hit high at $0.90 in 1974. World copper mine production was at its peak.Martial Law 1972 - 1986: During Martial Law in the Philippines, copper price trended upward where the country’s copper production continued and boomed in 1980 where it reached its peak. It was in 1980 when Philippine copper production was recorded the highest at 306 Kt. However, the World Oil Crisis in 1973 - 1980 brought about a decline in copper demand. World Recession in 1982 – 1984 pulled down the copper prices. Philippine inflation devalued the Philippine peso and there was an increase in production costs, materials and equipment. The Global recession resulted in a decline in copper demand. The Philippine gold production was sustained and gold prices surged from 1978 to 1980. The modern Gold Bloom in 1980s brought about the rise of unregulated Small Scale Mining. In summary, the explanatory variables of growth and decline in PH copper industry in the 1950s-1980s are: - For Copper resources: risk capital or investments, development in the world’s copper market, technology, human capital in mining, domestic social, legal, and political environment .- For the gold industry: gold resources, competition, commodity price, production costs, technology (bulk mining, milling, treatment), damages – natural & man-made disasters(Reference). T.M. Santos 2001 . Growth of Copper Production: Determinants and Empirical Evidence. Social Science Diliman, July-December 2001. 2:2, 1-49.)There were other historical events in the Philippines that followed like:EDSA Revolution: 1986-1992 - gold averaged $381, copper $1.02 – There was investment uncertainty and several mines closed. New mining laws were crafted like the 1991 RA 7076 (Small Scale Mining Act). The 1987 Constitution replaced Leasehold into Agreements system.From 1990s – 2004, there was collapse of the local mining industry. However from 2004 – 2009, there was a revitalization of the mining industry with EO 270 National Policy Agenda – Mineral Action Plan. Gold price surged from $410 to $873. Copper production hit lowest in 2004 at 16 Kt since 1957. The year 2005 brought global gold boom where Philippine gold-copper mines had expansion and reopening.The Aquino Administration from 2010-2016 was within the Global Mining Boom period (2010 - 2013). It was a successful period for Philippine mine exploration, prospect drill-testing, and resource evaluation drilling. In conclusion, Mr Ruelo presented a list of challenges that miners will need to face at the present time, namely:- Fewer outcropping “easy-to-find” deposits are now left except in high-risk and “inaccessible” areas.- Current mining operations will encounter increasing real costs (labor, materials, energy, environmental, community impact) that will affect production.- The next generation of lower-grade copper/gold projects require significantly higher metal prices to justify development.- We need to discover high-quality or better gold/copper resources, even deeper ones that can be economically mined – e.g. in greenfields and brownfields.
Philippine Resources - March 12, 2019
PH Nickel Industry Association at the PH Mining Club
By Marcelle P. Villegas“Nickel is all around us. As popular myths and research continue fanning endless debates on mining, an unpopular truth remains, the Philippines holds a strong track record for safe, responsible and sustainable mining. These practices catapulted the country into the roster of top nickel exporters worldwide. “ (an excerpt from the video presentation of Phil. Nickel Industry Association)Last August, Philippine Mining Club event presented Mr Isidro C. Alcantara, President of Marcventures Holdings Inc. as keynote speaker and as representative of Philippine Nickel Industry Association, Inc. or PNIA.PNIA is a non-stock, non-profit association duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The association was established in 2012 with a goal to promote and develop the nickel mining industry in the country, and aims to represent the Philippine nickel industry as the single voice to champion its cause with various stakeholders. The mining industry is a major backbone of the Philippine economy, and for that, PNIA believes that the government and the private sector have a big role as partners in developing this segment in the economy.The speaker, Mr Alcantara has a remarkable background related with banking and finance. He is a senior banker and former President and CEO of the Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom), Executive Vice President of Equitable PCIBank, Senior VP of HSBC-Manila, and served four years as a Director of the Bankers Association of the Phils. (BAP). He is a certified public accountant and graduated with honours as magna cum laude with a degree in Economics and Accounting from De La Salle University, Manila. He also took Special Studies in Finance at Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.He began his speech with gratitude for the attendees of the event who gathered to listen to the message of PNIA about the mining community. He states, “…hopefully we can inform, clarify and provide a factual and objective picture of the real status of the Philippine nickel industry. The Philippine nickel industry in particular and the entire mining industry is under scrutiny for its supposed shortcomings and inadequate environmental compliances. We beg to disagree. We contribute to the national economy and more significantly in a major way to the specific towns and provinces we are based in. Based on the [27th] information from the MGB in the Caraga region where the nickel belt is, the total socio-economic contributions and payments amounted to 467 million.” “If you follow the foundational wisdom and thinking from monetary authorities, which I am an alumni of, the money released from wages and other payments, this is the velocity of money that they talk about, the circulation of money. The contribution in provincial areas is 3 to 4 times. In Metro cities, the circulation of money is 11 times. So when they talk of the mining industry contributing 70 billion, that is really a contribution of at least 300 billion. And that a truism that you check with the Central Bank.” Mr Alcantara states that they believe that mining is a force for good and that overall, the industry contribute significantly to the upliftment of the socio-economic lives of the people in their host communities, where before there were none. “In our communities, we have provided education from nursery to high school levels, built clinics and healthcare facilities, initiated livelihood projects and created jobs, extended scholarships that allow the college education for our indigenous brothers and sisters. Taxes that allowed our LGUs to build roads and bridges and constructed much needed hospitals to give emergency and primary healthcare services. We are the only business where we are mandated to contribute 1.5% of our operating cost [directly] to our host communities for poverty alleviation.” He also noted that they, the member companies of PNIA, are doing a great job in the environmental programs and that in fact, they do beyond compliance.Why is nickel one of the leading minerals in the industry? From PNIA’s report, nickel is one of the most versatile minerals on earth that is so powerful that it plays a vital role in the development of various industries. It is used in healthcare, agriculture, and communication. Nickel is all around us. How does mining in Philippine context shape up? From a video presentation by PNIA, it states, “Massive advances in technology have transformed and improved the mining productivity over the years giving birth to safer, more efficient and more sustainable techniques. Philippine nickel mines use contour mining method where the process of benching is adopted to properly patch or extend the slope, hence the term contour mining, because it follows the slopes of the mountains by making benches for access in mining. With this type of surface mining, the ore extracted is closer to the surface ranger from only 3 – 25 meters below the ground.” In order to limit its side-effects on the environment, their method systematically removes a thin layer of overburdened or top soil to extract the desired deposit.However, despite all these systematic methods and well-regulated mining practices, there are still endless concerns about their long-term effects on the environment. How then can we make mining environmentally sustainable? The answer is, environmental rehabilitation and reforestation.After the speech and presentation by Mr Alcantara, a panel discussion took place with Clarence T. Pimentel, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of PNIA and President/CEO of CTPCMC; Ferdinand Pallera, President, Citinickel Mines and Development Corp.; Engr. Cesar F. Simbular, Jr. President, DMCI Mining Corp.; Tulsidas Consunji-Reyes, Vice President for Marketing, DMCI Mining; and Antonio L. Co, President, Carrascal Nickel Corporation.About Philippine Mining Club:Running for 8 years now, the Philippine Mining Club is closely affiliated wiht the Melborne Mining Club. The group was formed to create better relationships across all areas of the mining industry whose aim is to uphold a professional networking environment in promoting the exploration, extraction and minerals industry of the country.
Philippine Resources - March 12, 2019
Strategic Synergies at the Mining Philippines 2018
By Marcelle P. VillegasMining Philippines 2018 International Conference and Exhibition was held last 18-20 September 2018 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. It was a three-day event organised by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CoMP) with the theme “Strategic Synergies: Communicating the Gains of Responsible Mining”. The mining summit aims to give emphasis to the many innovations, technologies, and interventions undertaken by the mining industry which is often unknown to most people. The event also focuses on the environmental programs for local communities, best practices in mining, and the Chamber’s communication strategies in addressing the rampant misconception about the mining industry.The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines is a professional association of the country’s largest mining, quarrying and mineral processing companies. The Chamber was established with an objective to promote the responsible exploration, development, and utilization of minerals. Day 1 of the event had a lively start when the General Headquarters Band of the Armed Forces of the Philippines led the Philippine National Anthem. This was followed by their upbeat music lineup starting off with Glenn Miller’s 1939 hit “In the Mood” and then a medley of songs that pays tribute to the rock legend, Freddie Mercury of the band “Queen”. Mr Gerard H. Brimo, the Chairman of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and CEO of Nickel Asia Corporation covered various important topics about the industry in his opening speech. Regarding the landslide in Benguet in September that was triggered by Typhoon Ompong and killed many small-scale miners, he said, "It did not take long for our detractors to point fingers at the mining industry in general, and that is one problem we have been experiencing over the years -- the lack of distinction between small-scale and the formal large-scale mining industry.”He states, “As we grieve for the small-scale miners and their families over the tragedy, we must go on record that we in this room, are not connected with small-scale activities in any way, and we have done so yesterday in the media… I believe we should also go on record that we are not against small-scale mining. They do have a role to play and it is a valid occupation, but the activity has to be done legally and with proper supervision."Mr Brimo also gave recognition to two members of the Chamber who won awards during the First Asean Mineral Awards (AMA), namely Oceanagold’s Didipio gold-copper mine for “Best Practices in Sustainable Resource Development in Mineral Processing”  and Nickel Asia Corporation’s Rio Tuba for “Best Practices in Sustainable Mineral Development Award” in the Mineral Mining Category. "Imagine that, amidst all the criticisms, the best mine and the best plant in the Asean region is right here in the Philippines, voted no less by the various Asean mining ministers," said Mr Brimo. "While we continue with the struggle, your participation in the Chamber activities by your membership and through conferences such as these, is much appreciated and we thank you."During a short break period, Mr Brimo had a quick interview by the members of the press. One of the topics discussed was regarding the House Bill 7951 or the Mining Tax Reform Bill filed by Rep. Estrelita B. Suansing of the First District of Nueva Ecija province last July 24.  Mr Brimo emphasized that the Philippines is at risk of losing investments in the mining sector if Congress passes the proposed law that will impose a 5% tax on all its metal and nonmetal mines, regardless if they were declared as mineral reservations or not. The HB 7951 could make mining companies suffer and overall, the country could lose quality investments which could affect around 100,000 families who are dependent on the mining industry.Mr Melo Acuna, journalist and radio broadcaster, asked the question, “What is the impact of the President's statements about mining and how will it impact on your investment and your partners?” Mr Brimo replied, “We're concerned particularly with the Mining Tax Bill that has been filed recently in Congress… We've analyzed it and what we've done is we've compared that mining tax structure with the very large mining countries like Chile, Peru, South Africa, Canada and Australia. The way to figure out if the tax structure is expensive or not, or fair, is to do comparisons. So we know the exact tax structures of mining in very big mining countries and we have made a comparison. And that bill puts us more expensive than the five very large mining countries that we have done comparative study on.”He describes the proposed law as, “punishing”. “We are talking to the legislator to see what can be done about it, because you can't expect investors to come here under that tax structure, but it's actually more than that. You put in an additional 5% royalty on gross revenues, and we in the nickel space, most of the nickel mines are already in mineral reservations, so a lot of us are paying that 5%. But copper and gold is a different thing. They have never been under mineral reservation. Prices are low. Everybody thinks they're making a lot of money but the reality is they're not. In fact, one of them is losing money and has lost money for the last two years. So, you introduce an additional 5% royalty to the tax structure and you run the risk of those mines closing down, and these are big mines. These are copper and gold mines, bigger than nickel. One of them in particular has a community of 20,000 people. So you can imagine the closure of one of those mines and the impact on the area if that happens.”Mr Brimo stressed that this proposed tax structure will be a problem for new projects. “If that bill passes, we are not going to see investments in our mineral sector anymore from quality companies. We want to attract in this country quality companies. Companies that are large, that are technically knowledgeable, that have a lot of resources, and that can do things properly. And they operate all over the world, so they know what they're doing. They do things very carefully. But they will not come here with a tax structure that is too expensive.”Therefore, with this possible forecast, how much investment do we expect to lose if this law pushes through? “There are three large copper and gold developments that are pending. I don't have the figures for one of them, but we're talking in the billions of pesos of lost investment, lost taxes, more importantly, employment and social development and that is critical.”Referring to first-class municipalities such as Claver in Surigao del Norte, Cantilan in Surigao del Sur, Toledo City in Cebu, and others, “What a formal large-scale mining industry does is that it develops entire areas in the countryside… You will see the development that takes place there. It is huge. These municipalities are all first class. And why are they first class? It's because of the mining industry that's there. And you will lose all that down the road. And for a country that is as blessed like us with mineral resources that would be a shame. I don't know of any mineralised country that does not encourage a vibrant mining industry to develop their natural resources. And we might just very possibly be the first, and that would be a shame, because we need exports, we need employment, we need countryside development.”Additionally, Mr Brimo also shared his insight about how taxes should be done in mining. “If you study the tax structure of these other mining countries, most of their mining taxes are on profits. They're not on revenues and that's the right way to do it because it is progressive. In other words, the more money you make, the higher your operating margin, [and] the higher the special mining tax rate [will be]. In our country, we do it in the reverse. We're very high in terms of the imposition of revenues and it's not geared towards the profits. And that is very evident in our studies and we've shared that with the DENR, MGB and DOF as well, and we continued to do dialogue with them to see where we can all end up here.”References: Didipio Mine Wins Asean Mineral Awards – retrieved from the website of Mines and Geosciences Bureau  Gomez, Eireene Jairee. (20 Sept. 2018). The Manila Times. “PH to lose investments under mining bill – mining chamber”. https://www.manilatimes.net/ph-to-lose-investments-under-mining-bill-mining-chamber/443089/
Philippine Resources - March 12, 2019
Sec. Cimatu on “Reinventing Mining”
By Marcelle P. VillegasIn terms of taxes, fees and other charges of the Government to mining companies, how much are mining companies really contributing to the country? How much funds are mining companies giving to local communities through their social development programs? And moreover, at the present time, how may trees have mining companies planted on the land area that they have mined and rehabilitated? With all the negative media and misinformation about the industry where most people think that the mining industry is not contributing much in this country, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu addressed these issues during his speech at the Mining Philippines 2018 last 18 September 2018 at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel. Additionally, the Secretary emphasized the mechanics of “reinventing mining” for the benefit of people where they can utilize the mineral resources of the country. On Day 1 of the mining summit, Secretary Cimatu was in Baguio to attend to the problems relating to the landslide brought about by typhoon Ompong. On his behalf, Environment Undersecretary Analiza A. Rebuelta-Teh read his speech. The Secretary attended on Day 2 of Mining Philippines 2018.Mining Philippines Conference and Exhibition is an annual event that is organised by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines. The event is a venue that showcase the achievements and best practices of mining companies. The participants also discuss current relevant topics that surround the mining industry. This year’s theme is “Strategic Synergies: Communicating the Gains of Responsible Mining”.Here is Sec. Cimatu’s speech during the Opening Session of Mining Philippines 2018.“To the members of the board of trustees of the Chamber of Mines headed by its Chairman, Mr Gerard Brimo, and also to the mine officers of the Chamber, Ambassador Delia Albert, Ambassador Martin Slabber from South Africa, Ambassador Win Naing of Myanmar, Ambassador Lý Quôc Tuân from Vietnam, and Canadian Trade Commissioner Crista McInnis, the Australian Senior Trade Commissioner Elodie Journet, and of course colleagues from the government and especially MGB Director Moncano and Assistant Director Uykieng. “To all the guests and participants to the mining summit, a pleasant morning. During the last forum on mining which the DENR convinced regularly as a venue to address with the mining companies the various issues confronting the industry, I mentioned about the need to reinvent mining as pronounced by the President. Why reinvent? Why not regaining and rebuilding as we call our rehabilitation efforts in Boracay? Why not reforming mining? “Reinvent means to change something so much that it appears to be entirely new. It means to take up a very different way of life. So why reinvent mining? Because that is what exactly the industry needs now. We need to change to be almost entirely new. We need to take up a very different way of life.“That is the only way to go if we are to preserve the industry’s gains in promoting sustainable mineral resources development. So how do we intend to reinvent mining? When I say “we”, not just “we”, the National Government. “We” includes the mining companies, the local government units and other stakeholders. Let us look first at where the mining industry is now.“According to reports the total Philippine metallic mineral production value advanced by 4% as of June 2018, from 52.42 billion pesos to 54.57 billion pesos year on year, or an increase of 2.14 billion pesos. The positive trend was brought about with the improved metal prices in the world market. In terms of gross value added, mining contributed 53 billion pesos during the first half of 2018. Mineral exports during the first quarter reached 1.1 billion dollars. Total employment during the same period totalled 215,000 workers. In terms of royalties, fees and other charges collected by the government from mining operations, a total of 644.4 million pesos was recorded with additional 292.6 million pesos in taxes, fees and charges collected by local government units from mining. As of July this year, the mining industry committed a total fund of 16.42 billion pesos for social development programs benefiting 966 barangays affected by mining operations.“In terms of environmental protection and enhancement programs, the amount committed reached 18.39 billion pesos and another 2.55 billion pesos for final mine rehabilitation and the commissioning programs. Under the Mining Forest Program 107 mining companies reported that they have planted 26,023.62 hectares of trees numbering 28,349,833.“So can we say, not that bad? Or maybe we should say we can do more or even better we should do more. And when we say that we should do more, we are reinventing mining. We are changing the industry’s way of life. Is the government on the other hand providing the enabling policy environment to support the growth of mining industry with high regard to environmental considerations? There are several policy issuances that I have signed as initial efforts to reinvent mining.“DENR Administrative Order 2018-13 Lifting the Moratorium on the Acceptance, Processing and Approval of Applications for Exploration Permit for Metallic and Non-metallic Minerals following the completion of the audit on all mining operations pursuant to DENR Memorandum Order 2016-01 or the Audit of All Operating Mines and Moratorium on New Mining Projects.“Administrative Order No. 2018-19 or The Guidelines for Additional Environmental Measures for Operating Surface Metallic Mines was issued to provide new environmental policies that will ensure sustainable environmental conditions at every stage of the mining operation and minimize the disturbed area of a mining project at any given time. “Administrative Order No. 2018-20 or Providing for a New Guidelines in the Evaluation and Approval of the Three-year Development/Utilization Work Program provides standards in the evaluation and approval of the said program that is consistent with the approved feasibility study, the provisions of mining laws, rules and regulations, and the terms and conditions of the mining permit and contract. The new guideline was also designed to provide for an efficient monitoring system of operating mines. The review conducted by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council or the MICC technical review teams showed that mining industry really needs to shape up as a sector.“Even if there are responsible mining companies, those which still disregard environmental laws unfortunately affect not just the overall image of the sector but also provides an impression of this malperformance of this industry in general.“The reviews specified major reforms needed. For example, on adequate mine tailings pond and the very slow rehabilitation of the disturbed mined areas. It also pointed out unacceptable practices regarding stock pile areas, location of tailing storage facilities, and dumping of toxic and hazardous waste. I believe that enforcement is critical to usher in a new era of doing mining in the country. Reinventing mining entails improving the MGB monitoring of operations and compliance of mining companies to mining and environmental laws, rules and regulations; enforcing fines, penalties, suspension and closure to demonstrate no-nonsense, putting-into-force compliance and promoting deterrence for commission of violations is imperative. Most importantly, reinventing mining in the Philippines is providing actual benefits to the people, who must benefit first and foremost from the utilization of the country’s mineral resources as pronounced by the President in several instances.“We can do more not by imposing additional taxes, or giving incentives, or implementing social development programs. We can do more by strictly complying with the protection and conservation of the natural resources to ensure that future generation will benefit. So let us continue undertaking reforestation programs as a mining sector. Let us implement progressive rehabilitation in our mining areas. Let us provide appropriate mitigating measures to protect our watershed and water bodies. But most of all, let us follow strictly the environmental guidelines in all aspects of mining operation.“As the scheduled re-opening of Boracay gets near, we will be able to demonstrate that effective enforcement and coordination among concerned agencies and stakeholders can lead to successful rehabilitation and improve environmental quality.“As a military man, I have received several commendations that anyone could be proud of, but the truth is, the things that we have done and accomplished to make Boracay “cessful no more” gives me more satisfaction than any military award that I have received, maybe because I know I am doing something for the environment, for our children’s future and our children’s children’s future. And now the challenge is for us all to work together to make something that we will all be proud of and satisfied. We should do more. We can change mining’s way of life. Let us change the face of mining in the Philippines, a sector that is capable to discipline itself, that has high regard for the environmental protection, one that works genuinely with the communities.“I would like to congratulate the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and its partners in organizing this mining summit. As we engage each other in sharing experiences in discussing policy issues and recommendations, in just by getting to know more each other, we are undertaking efforts to unite the industry towards our common goal, sustainable development of our resources, economic upliftment of the people, and progress for our country. Maraming salamat po at mabuhay!”
Philippine Resources - March 12, 2019
Acid rock drainage management at Masbate Gold Project
By Marcelle P. VillegasFilminera Resources Corp. is a company involved in mining and quarrying of gold, silver, nickel, copper and chromite. Masbate Gold Mine was acquired in an acquisition in January 2013. It was in April 2010 when exploration drilling began. The mine site is located in Aroroy, Masbate (Region V) which is around 350km south of Manila. The mine site is a brownfield, an open-pit mine, and is a major gold producer in the Philippines. Gold processing in a mine site could result into environmental issues if not managed properly. In the case of Masbate Gold Project, how do they manage the Acid Rock Discharge from the site?During the MinECon 2018 in Surigao City last June and the PMEA Monthly Membership Meeting last September, Engr. Elvira Pelleja- Acleta, Senior Mine Engineer of Filminera Resources Corp. presented the topic “Acid Rock Drainage Management at Masbate Gold Project”. Her technical presentation addressed various issues like environmental protection and rehabilitation in their gold mine project. “Acid Rock Drainage or ARD is the discharge of acidic water from the mine. It may come from the active pit or from dumps and stockpiles as a result of oxidation of sulphide minerals, predominantly Pyrite (FeS2).” The chemical equation goes:Pyrite + Oxygen + Water = Iron hydroxide + Sulphuric acid FeS2 + O2 + H2O = Fe(OH)3 + H2SO4 (exothermic) This processing stage produces acid, salinity (in the form of sulphate, calcium, magnesium mainly), dissolved metals (iron, aluminum, and can also contain elements such as As, Cd, Cu, Mn, Pb, Se, Zn etc. and other trace metals based on mineralogy). The contact water can be acid or metallifeorus. It may also be neutral, alkaline and saline, depending on the balance of oxidation or neutralisation reactions. Carbonate minerals and silicates act as buffer for the acidity, thus maintaining elevated pH and low metal concentrations.Why is ARD a potential environmental hazard? According to her report, ARD is one of the key issues of the Mining Industry due to its potential for water contamination, possible damage to flora and fauna, and human health hazards when it contaminates drinking water, food crops and fish stocks. Additionally, ARD can increase soil erosion and dump stability issues, increase cost for closure, long-term liability and possible negative company reputation.The good news is, for the record, in prior years, they avoided mining potential acidic areas. In 2015, they have done preliminary studies with Environmental Geochemistry International (EGi). By 2016, more results came out and ARD awareness spread to the mining groups and other departments and contractors. Further studies were done in 2017 to determine criteria for segregation, instrumentation and monitoring commence cover design studies. This year, more site supporting, instrumentation, cover design completion and monitoring are executed. The objective of Masbate Gold Project is to create a Management Plan for ARD that is science-based, financially viable, globally acceptable using international standards and practices, compliant to local regulations, and the approach is preventive rather than reactive.In order to reach the objective, key programs are established and applied on the site namely:- Geochemical Testing - for classifying Potential Acid Forming (PAF) and Non Acid Forming (NAF) Waste Rocks- PAF/NAF Delineation and Modelling- Integrate Segregation Criteria into Mine Planning and Operations- Dump Cover Systems to ensure long term control of ARD- Oxygen and Surface Water Quality Monitoring Programs to ensure detection of ARD effects- Drilling campaign on existing Waste Rock Dumps - Continuous collaboration with EGi provides specialized services in mine waste geochemistry and mine waste managementGeochemical Testing and Leaching provides a scientific approach in identifying Potential Acid Forming (PAF) versus Non-Acid Forming (NAF) waste rocks. It is important to identify PAF vs NAF because the results are used for the PAF/NAF modelling and blocking. These models are produced by Leapfrog Software. Using Geovia Surpac, a software specializing in geology and mine planning, PAF/NAF are blocked together with High Grade and Low Grade Ore to produce dig blocks. The software provides information for material scheduling and selective handling. The next stage is integration into planning and operation where actual dig blocks are marked on the ground using flagging tapes. Ore spotter will now guide the Excavator and Truck Operators on material loaded and its destination. This prompts review of dumping strategy and monitoring.Dump Cover Systems are used to control oxygen advection/diffusion and infiltration. The system must also have the capability to neutralise by encapsulation (NAF outside/PAF inside).Following this is the rehabilitation of the final lift using with Compacted Barrier with Vegetation. Rehabilitation along the slopes minimizes erosion and water infiltration via evapotranspiration.References: https://www.mining-technology.com/projects/cga-mining/ Elvira Pelleja-Acleta, Genn Russell Abad. “Acid Rock Drainage Management at Masbate Gold Project”
Philippine Resources - March 12, 2019
CTPCMC creates bamboo plantation
By Marcelle P. VillegasThere are numerous entrepreneurs and environmentalists who have concluded from their research and studies that the bamboo is an excellent choice in a reforestation project. Last year, CTP Construction and Mining Corporation launched their Bamboo Plantation as part of their reforestation program.CTP Construction and Mining Corporation operates the Adlay Mining Project and Dahican Nickel Project in Surigao Del Sur. The company actively participates in the National Greening Program (NGP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).From our previous articles about CTP Construction and Mining Corporation (PRJ Issues 2 and 3 – 2018), we had featured the company’s reforestation project and their notable implementation of environmental protection and rehabilitation in their mine site. The company launched Project Gaia in 2017 where their team is composed of women from Barangay Adlay who are assigned for the company’s reforestation activities (plant nursery operations, planting, landscaping and maintenance).The company has a variety of tree species in their reforestation program but why is the bamboo a special part of this endeavour? It is a grass, not a tree. Trees are traditionally planted to create or rehabilitate a forest, so why is a grass like bamboo an excellent choice in a reforestation planning, according to the bamboo experts? Mr Leo Dominguez, President of OLLI Consulting Group, Inc. and an advocate for bamboo planting states that there is an advantage in planting bamboos instead of trees. “I am a lawyer in the responsible mining industry. Since 2015, I have been advocating to the mining industry the planting of bamboo. Traditionally, the mining industry has planted trees in the rehabilitation of mine sites. By law, mining companies are required to spend 1.5% of their OPEX on SDMP or Social Development Management Programs. Trees are highly regulated. You cannot cut a tree without permits from the DENR." He further explains that, “Bamboo is a grass. Consequently, bamboo is not subjected to the same burdensome regulatory protocols as trees.”Additionally, the bamboo is very effective in cleaning the air compared with other plants or trees. According to the study of Mr Dominguez, bamboo works 400 times better than trees in terms of carbon sequestration. Mr Dominguez was a presenter at the Mining Philippines 2018 last September and in his report, he featured photos of CTPCMC as one of the mining companies who are currently advocates of planting bamboo for environmental and socio-economic reasons. Bamboos are also fast-growing, low-maintenance, resilient plants with high survival rate. Eventually when the bamboos grow in height, their upper stalks may be cut down, leaving the lower stalks on the grown for it to regrow again. The bamboo can be utilised for other purposes like as building materials for houses, furniture, bicycle framework, and more. It has a lifespan of 80 to 100 years. Therefore, they can provide livelihood to mining communities for decades. This is a remarkable benefit that not all plant or tree varieties may provide.In order to establish a mother source of bamboo for future bamboo production of the company, last September 2018, a total of 9 seedlings of bamboo planted at Area 1 (rehabilitated area) for initial stage. Species planted were Laak, Kajali and Guadua. These were planted by Mr Clarence “Carlo” J. Pimentel, Jr. (President and CEO of CTP Construction and Mining Corp. and co-founder of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association), Atty. Ross Romanillos and Engr. Charlo R. Basadre. Today, there are 580 bamboo seedlings produced from the nursery of the company with Laak species. From the startup nursery, CTPCMC Bamboo plantation was finally created in October 2017 where the planting on site started the following month. There were 301 bamboo seedlings planted in Dahican Nickel Project (DNP) and 300 for Adlay, therefore a total of 601 bamboo seedlings planted. They planted Giant Bamboo species at the 2B rehabilitated area of the mine site. Bamboo production and planting is a continuous activity as part of the company’s reforestation program.CTPCMC is 100% Filipino owned and has been operating since 2007. It is one of the top 5 nickel mines in the Philippines. It is also the second nickel mine in the Philippines that was awarded a triple ISO certifications namely, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS certifications last 2016 and in February 2018. It upgraded to latest versions namely ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management System) and ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management System) along with its existing OHSAS 18001:2007, certified by TÜV Rheinland.
Philippine Resources - March 08, 2019
1st Philippine Natural Resources Development Forum
The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) is organizing the 1st Philippine Natural Resources Development Forum on April 26, 2019 at Marriott Hotel Manila with the theme “Harnessing Natural Resources for inclusiveness and Sustainable Development”.The mining industry in the Philippines is a major economic activity but remains operating below potential. There is a considerable anti-mining sentiment in the country especially at the subnational levels where environmental impact and displacement of indigenous peoples caused by mining operations have been the focus of much debate. Small-scale mining is also contentious, due to poor regulations and overlapping policies between national and local government. The ECCP believes that the contribution to national development and share value can be further enhanced through better regulatory and enabling policies, best practices in value sharing, environment-friendly technologies and socially responsible investments.The 1st Philippine Natural Resources Development Forum intends to convene decision makers and other key stakeholders from the Mining (Metallic and Non-metallic subsectors) as well as Upstream Oil & Gas, Coal sub sectors to discuss challenges, opportunities, policy reforms and best practices in harnessing the country’s natural resources and their contribution to sustainable development.Visit https://www.eccp.com/events/?id=499 for more information.
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Philippine Resources - March 08, 2019
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Philippines
Powering Future Energy SolutionsWitness the 2nd edition of the country’s most comprehensive energy trade event!The 3-day exhibition, RE EE Philippines 2019 will highlight ways and means to attain alternative energy advancements and productivity. Increase your audience reach as it brings together key players and top practitioners from the industry, while also inviting target visitors and some government authorities for building new profitable partnerships and a lot more proactive business opportunities. It will showcase a wide range of technologies suppliers and equipment from various segments in the industry including: - Solar- Wind- Hydroelectric- Biomass- GeothermalSupported by the Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance (PE2), Renewable Energy Association of the Philippines (REAP) and Philippine Independent Power Producers Association, Inc. (PIPPA), this professional trade show is the best platform to build connections and transform it to mutually beneficial relationships.Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (RE EE) 2019 is just one of the successful energy series spearheaded by UBM, which includes ASEAN Sustainable Energy Week (Thailand), Renewable Energy India, Renewable Energy Myanmar, Renewable Energy Vietnam, Solar Asia and Green Energy Malaysia.Visit https://www.renergyphilippines.com/ for more information
Philippine Resources - March 08, 2019
The Nickel Initiative 2019
THE EVENTThe Nickel Initiative 2019 is the premiere business event in the Philippines that tackles issues that cut across multiple industries involved in the nickel supply chain, its inter-relationships, and potential areas for collaboration. Featured industries include companies involved in exploring, extracting, and processing nickel as well as businesses that utilize nickel as a key resource, such as e-vehicle, transportation, and infrastructure.OBJECTIVES- Enable discussions and identification of cross-cutting issues impacting nickel and other industries critical to economic and sustainable development.- Identify and pursue potential business and development opportunities for key industries in the Philippines, including nickel and other mineral industries, infrastructure, and e-vehicle.- Open doors for improved networking and collaboration among stakeholders and industry players locally and abroad. For more information: https://www.philippinenickel.org/the-nickel-initiative/
Philippine Resources - March 07, 2019
Solar Lolas on the way to financial literacy
By Patricia A. O. BunyeI have written frequently about the journey of our “Solar Lolas”, seven Aeta women who trained at the Barefoot College in Tilonia, India under the “Tanging Tanglaw: Turning IP Grandmothers into Solar Engineers” project of Diwata-Women in Resource Development, Inc. and its project partners, the Land Rover Club of the Philippines and the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association. Five years after we first launched this project in 2014, we remain as excited and committed as we see the Solar Lolas making great strides.At the Barefoot College, where rheir training was made possible by the support of the Government of India through its Indian Technical and Economic Program, they learned how to assemble, repair and maintain solar panels for installation in their respective communities in Bamban, Tarlac and Gala, Zambales. The first batch trained from September 2014 to March 2015, while the second batch trained from April to September 2018. The first installation of solar panels in Bamban took place in 2016, with the installation in Gala following soon after. Rural Electrification Workshops (REW) where the Solar Lolas do their work, and which serve as community activity centers, have also been constructed. During typhoons, these REW have served as emergency shelters as well.In each community, “Lupong Solar”, or committees composed of 7 members (3 IP chieftains, 2 Solar Lolas, a lupon secretary and a collector) have been organized. The Lupong Solar is tasked with managing the funds collected from the users of the solar panels for future use when the panels would need to be repaired or replaced. The Solar Lolas who undertake the installation, maintenance and repair of these panels are also paid a modest stipend from these funds.One major milestone is that the Lupong Solar of Bamban has opened, with the assistance of Diwata, its own bank account with Chinabank’s Bamban Branch, in which they are now depositing their monthly collections. The whole process of opening their accounts took more than half a day, but it was an accomplishment that the Solar Lolas can be proud of.The Tanging Tanglaw Project also receives tremendous support from FWD Insurance which has designed a Financial Sustainability Training Program for Solar Lolas. The first formal training session, which was facilitated by trainors from Bayan Academy, was held on 04 December 2018 at Diwata’s training room at the Clark Skills and Training Center (formerly known as the “Clark Polytechnic College”). [Pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement with the Bases Conversion Development Authority and the Clark Development Corporation, the Tanging Tanglaw Project is allowed the use of a training room formally known as the “BCDA Group Women’s Center” and a storage facility for its solar equipment.One activity during the training session was to construct a model community by using pictures, drawings and cut outs. Although the participants were divided into different groups, their envisioned model communities contained the same features: water, schools and concrete homes. In this regard, Diwata has been looking into how it may assist the Bamban community in improving its water supply. Volunteers from the UP National Institute of Geological Sciences have conducted the necessary studies, but the actual funding and implementation of the water project will have to be deferred.Although the training session was conducted informally, a number of more sensitive or serious concerns were elicited from the discussions, including the participants’ thoughts on family, government and even discrimination. They also expressed the desire to implement culturally appropriate conservation and development programs. The discussions were a good starting point for further engagement with them, particularly on short, medium and long term developmental interventions. To make the program more meaningful and impactful, there is a need to calibrate their expectations versus the actual programs that can be delivered. Moving forward, we will have to focus on the need for livelihood projects for the communities. Currently, majority of the community members are farmers. They produce root crops, vegetables and raise poultry. Other sources of income come from charcoal production and wild animal hunting. Other tribe members also work in the lowlands as construction workers.While Diwata has been engaged with these communities for five years now, there is still so much to learn about them, particularly their dynamics and cultural norms. It is a continuing lesson in being open and patient, and most importantly, not imposing our ways on them. It never ceases to amaze me how far our Solar Lolas have come and how they have been transformed by the Tanging Tanglaw Project. It will certainly be exciting to accompany them further on this journey to financial self sufficiency. Patricia A. O. Bunye is a senior partner at Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia and head of its mining and energy practice. She is also President of Diwata-Women in Resource Development, Inc. Questions and comments are welcome at email@example.com.