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