MAC: Mines and Communities

Mining Out Of Denr; Now Under President's Office

Published by MAC on 2007-07-27
Source: Inquirer

Mining out of DENR; now under President’s office

By Michael Lim Ubac, Inquirer -

27th July 2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Add the mining industry to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s hands-on concerns. Ms Arroyo has ordered supervision of the mining industry transferred from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the Office of the President, in a move, she said, “to closely monitor and oversee the efficient and effective implementation of the country’s utilization and development of its mineral resources.”

Her directive was contained in Executive Order No. 636 dated July 18, which was made public Thursday.

As with other new EOs, Ms Arroyo said, “all issuances, rules and regulations or parts thereof which are inconsistent with this EO are hereby revoked, amended, or modified accordingly.”

The President’s decision to take a direct hand in the supervision of Philippine Mining Development Corp. (PMDC) is seen as crucial in the development of the industry.

The Philippines ranks fifth among the countries rich in mineral resources.

Mining activities, already on the uptrend, are expected to further increase next year with more foreign investments coming in.

This year alone, some of the world’s biggest mining players have invested a total of $500 million in mining in the Philippines.

These firms and their investments include: Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp., $100 million, Oceana Gold Ltd. of New Zealand and Climax Arino Mining Co. of Australia, $100 million, and Coral Bay Nickel Corp., $100 million (to expand its Rio Tuba operations in Palawan).

Responsible mining stressed

The PMDC is a government-owned and -controlled corporation with the primary task of “exploring, developing, mining, smelting and producing, transporting, storing, distributing, exchanging, selling, disposing, importing, exporting, trading, and promoting gold, silver, copper, iron and all kinds of mineral deposits and substances.”

The Arroyo administration has stressed that environmental laws would not be compromised in the development of the country’s mineral resources, and that responsible mining was key to sustainable economic growth.

The local mining industry suffered a slump in the 1970s when metal prices in the world market dived.

But with the new surge in the price of metals, the Philippine mining industry is well-positioned to cash in on the price hikes, Malacañang said.

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