The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said Thursday it looks forward to the reopening of the stalled Tampakan copper-gold project following the lifting of the ban on open pit mining in South Cotabato province.
COMP said the local government unit’s environment code is now aligned with national laws on mining, allowing open pit extraction method used by thousands of mines worldwide.
“We laud this decision by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of South Cotabato as it paves the way for the development of the Tampakan Copper Gold Project,” said Chamber of Mines of the Philippines chairman Michael Toledo.
COMP said global practices allow open pit mines to be operated safely and can be rehabilitated properly to create alternative and productive land use after the life of mine.
Toledo said Tampakan could be another powerful project that would lift the local and regional economy in South Cotabato, adding to the benefits of similar mining tenements in Silangan and Kingking.
The mining project is expected to spur economic activities, create employment, open up new business opportunities and promote social development programs in education and health.
“When these projects go full swing, they can increase yearly national government revenues by P12 billion a year, local government revenues by P1.5 billion, exports by almost $2 billion and social expenditures by close to P800 million per year,” Toledo said.
The project is expected to generate as much as P68 billion earnings for the local government in the first 10 years or during the first phase. This will involve about P4 billion for local taxes, royalties of P4.8 billion for indigenous peoples and P2.6 billion for social development and management program, among others.
“The Tampakan Project will be an essential post-pandemic economic recovery tool whose actual and potential benefits far outweigh the potential negative impacts. We believe no other sector is likely to provide a more responsible and sustainable alternative,” Toledo said.
Tampakan represents one of the largest copper resources in the Philippines and in the world, having an estimated resource of 2.94 billion tons of ore with 0.6 percent copper and a resource of 18 million ounces of gold.
COMP said it remains open to any regulatory changes that will revitalize mining in the Philippines. The recent easing of mining policies, including the move by the South Cotabato, would increase investment appetite for the industry, it said.
The mining group thanked the President for creating the regulatory environment that allows LGUs to enact and implement local legislation.
“We look forward to further growth under the new administration and are ready to contribute to economic growth, even as we continue to be fully mindful of our environment, social, and governance performance for the benefit of present and future generations of Filipinos,” Toledo said.