Mining companies turned bullish on industry prospects as the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. seeks to reinvigorate the sector as part of the strategy to grow the domestic economy.
Mining industry, which has stagnated since 2012 following the imposition of moratorium on new mining contracts, is enjoying the benefits of prevailing high metal prices.
“We are very happy that the new administration is pro-mining,” DMCI Holdings president and chief executive Isidro Consunji said in a recent investors forum.
DMCI’s mining unit has operations in Zambales and Palawan provinces, but at least 90 percent of its assets have yet to receive government permits.
The Philippines is considered the fifth most mineralized country in the world, with the third largest deposits of gold, fourth for copper, fifth for nickel, and sixth for chromite. Most of country’s mineral resources, however, remain untapped because of strong opposition from various sectors.
It was during the Aquino administration when a moratorium on new projects was imposed following a series of mining incidents.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte also had an anti-mining stance at the onset of his administration and threatened to impose a total ban on open pit mining. He ordered mining companies to rehabilitate mined-out areas.
Towards the end of of 2021, President Duterte lifted the ban on new mining projects to boost the economy which was badly affected by the pandemic.
Philex Mining Corp. president Austin Eulalio Jr. said the industry holds the greatest potential to drive economic recovery and growth.
“We believe that mining, being an export industry, will play an important role in the economic recovery of the country, particularly in increasing our dollar reserves,” Eulalio said.
“The Philippines is one of the highly mineralized countries in the region, and it must take advantage of the opportunity considering the stable metal prices, global direction to move into green energy, in which copper and nickel are very important,” he said.