Mining needs consistent policies to prosper, says Tampakan operator
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines needs “stable” policies to attract more investments in the mining sector even with the constant change in leadership, according to Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), which operates the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project.
SMI legal and compliance manager Stella Joy Segocio said the country’s mining industry was optimistic over the government’s pronouncements on reviving the sector to buoy economic recovery.
“[It’s] very optimistic, especially coming from the past two [administrations],” she told reporters, citing the country could take advantage of favorable copper prices.
However, Segocio said the government needed to institutionalize policies that would not be dependent on who was leading the administration.
“If there’s one thing I would ask for, it’s the stability of policies that are not dependent on personalities, meaning it’s institutionalized and stable to give security to the investors,” she said.
In the last few years, the sector’s contribution to the country’s economy has not been significant due to regulations that stymied its growth.
To recall, certain regulations were implemented by the Duterte administration to address environmental concerns. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s predecessor only lifted the ban on open-pit mining and new mining projects just before the end of his term.
“We have untapped resources and the government is telling us in so many policy pronouncements that among the industries that could contribute, especially with the devastation of the pandemic, one is [the] mining sector and you will hear that from our economic team, the secretary of finance, secretary of trade and industry,” said SMI president and CEO Roy Deveraturda.
The mining sector, despite being the “most misunderstood” sector, is needed since metals are widely used in daily life, according to Deveraturda.
On criticisms that the sector ruins the environment, he cited the need to operate the mining business in a responsible manner while boosting and sustaining economic growth.“There are scientific ways and methodologies to do it and we can assure you that … even the government will not allow you to do something [that will] destroy the environment,” he added.
In 2022, the country’s metal production climbed by 31.73 percent to P238.05 billion on higher production alongside the softening of global metal prices, data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau showed.
Nickel took the lion’s share with P117.58 billion worth of output, equivalent to 49.39 percent of total production value.
By: Jordeene B. Lagare
Philippine Daily Inquirer
April 10, 2023