MAC: Mines and Communities

Asean Mining Bloc Eyed

Published by MAC on 2005-10-11
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer News Service

ASEAN mining bloc eyed

Oct. 11, 2005

Christine A. Gaylican , Philippine Daily Inquirer News Service

ASEAN countries, in a move led by the Philippines and Indonesia, are considering creation of a regional mining bloc aimed at tripling the region's mineral exports to the global market to as much as $15 billion in the next three years, an industry official said.

Growing demand for minerals in booming economies, such as China, Japan, India and Korea, would support increases in the region's mineral production, Benjamin Philip Romualdez, president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and chairman of the ASEAN Federation of Mining Associations, said in a press briefing Monday.

Good metal prices in the world market are expected to continue as demand keep on growing, Romualdez added.

He said that ASEAN mineral producers -- the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Laos -- account for only about five percent or $5 billion of the global mineral production worth $110 billion, and a huge potential for increased mineral output in ASEAN countries remained untapped, he said.

"The ASEAN Federation of Mining Associations sees the need for the region to meet an upsurge in demand," Romualdez said.

Global mining industry revenues have been rising since 2001 as metal prices rise steadily. In 2003, mining revenue rose 18 percent to $110 billion from $93 billion in 2002.

Prospects in the Philippine mining industry have strengthened significantly after the Supreme Court ruled as constitutional a law allowing foreign ownership of mining projects.

The ASEAN federation will hold a three- mining conference to be attended by about 500 participants, including representatives of companies belonging to the Indonesian Mining Association, Malaysian Chamber of Mines, Mining Industry Council of Thailand, and the Laos Mining Association.

Private sector delegates and government representatives from Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia, which have yet to officially join the ASEAN Federation of Mining Associations, are also expected at the conference, Romualdez said.

Also expected are delegates from countries with highly developed mining industries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, and South Africa.

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