Stakeholders' collaboration needed to add value to mining sector
The Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) said there is a need for collaborative efforts between stakeholders in government and the private sector to be able to explore global trends and opportunities in nickel consuming sectors.
"There is so much potential for nickel, how important it is in the commodities because we use nickel in many commodities applications," said PNIA president Dante Bravo on Tuesday at the Nickel Initiative 2019 held at Shangri-La at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.
He said such areas for cooperation and collaboration will serve as a platform for industries with shared interests in nickel include electric-vehicles (e-vehicles), transportation and stainless steel.
"Right now, it (e-vehicles) is on its infancy, but consider the impact of electric vehicles in the future," he said.
Bravo is optimistic that e-vehicles will grow. "It's just a matter of time as all the manufacturing companies are talking about it. Then there will be a significant demand for nickel because it is found that nickel is safer and more efficient."
However, he said there is a need to ensure that there are sufficient reserves to support the value added in nickel such as the putting up of processing plants.
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in her speech at the event, said that the mining sector grew more rapidly under the present administration than it did when she was still the President despite the former's stand on mining.
"I have said that even under my successor, who was very strict about mining, the sector grew even more than it did in my time," she said. "That's what we want to do now. Even in today's policy and regulatory environment, we want to help the sector grow and contribute to national development."
But in doing so, the Speaker stressed, there should be a framework that will approximate the thinking of President Rodrigo Duterte.
As what the President stated in his state-of-the-nation-address last year, Arroyo said, raw materials from mining operations in the country should be converted to finished products.
"In line with the President's other statements regarding raw materials..., your projects would ideally include processing facilities if not today, at least in the realistic future.”
In doing so, she said mining companies should include in their proposed expansion the setting up of processing facilities.
Bravo said to ensure sustainability of nickel processing plants, explorations should not be limited to just one year.
He said there is a need to ensure sufficient reserves to support the plant and also longer time for explorations in other areas to ensure that there will be reserves for the processing plant.
Another issue that needs to be reviewed is the policy that may seem to restrict those who would be investing in value added processing plants.
"If we have the right policies that we can guarantee that investments, that we can guarantee supply, that we can provide other benefit advantage, then definitely, as the second largest producer of nickel, we can also become the second if not the number one in the value-added processing," he said.
“Our policies should encourage high quality investment because mining is capital-intensive. We have to know how to move forward and convince the government that there is a need to implement new policies if we want to go into that direction,” he added.
At present, PNIA is discussing the creation of a roadmap that would promote investments and enhance its competitiveness in the world market.
“The roadmap is just the start. We need to identify what needs to be done. We hope to do it in a year’s time and come up with something to be able to promote the industry and help the government in shaping the right policies," Bravo said.
He stressed the crafting of a roadmap will ensure a fair understanding of what the role of the nickel industry is, which they believe is a significant economic driver considering that the Philippines is the world’s second largest supplier of nickel ore.
“There’s going to be appropriate policies to support the initiative, if and when we will have the value adding processing plant, then all of these will support that,” Bravo said.
Among the issues that will be included in the roadmap are the needed infrastructure, incentives, power, as well as peace and security.
Bravo said that the joint efforts of government and the private sector should be continuous and always aimed at revitalizing and developing mining in a manner that balances economic, environmental, and social objectives.
Original article: http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1065082