Vol. XXI, No. 178-A
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Bulk of growth in the mining sector in the next three years — by which time investments are targeted to reach $10 billion from the mere $1.4 billion actual businesses that came in during the three years after the Supreme Court ruled to allow 100% foreign ownership in local mining projects — will come from projected expansion of projects already on the ground.
A statement of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) quoted Secretary Jose L. Atienza Jr. as telling participants in the Asian Mining Conference in Singapore that he expects those mining companies that have already invested in the country to "dramatically boost their investments in the next three years, or until 2011."
"The bulk of the projected investments," Mr. Atienza said, are expected to come in between 2008 and 2010, when these "investors progress to the construction and development stages."
"Forty mining processing and exploration projects, as well as 23 other exploration projects have invested a total of $1.4 billion from 2004 to end of 2007. These have potential additional investments of another $9 billion up to 2011, for a total of $10.4 billion," he added.
Mr. Atienza also cited DENR data showing an increase in volume of mineral production beginning this year in almost all sub-sectors: gold, nickel, copper, chromite, cobalt, zinc, ferronickel and calcined nickel. The projections cover the priority projects and were based on their submitted production schedule. "The rise in production volume will expectedly raise the production value of the minerals industry, which is seen to reach over $10 billion, almost five times that of 2007’s $3 billion," he said.
"It is expected that, at such level, the Philippine minerals industry’s contribution to Philippine exports will be in the vicinity of 6.5%, enough for the Philippines to be classified as a ’mining country,’ based on World Bank standards," Mr. Atienza said.
Mr. Atienza said copper production will rise four times from 216,000 dry metric tons (DMT) in 2007 to 830,000 DMT in 2008, while chromite would almost double from 37,000 DMT to 63,000 for the same period.
Gold production would increase twice from 1.2 million to 2.7 million ounces, while silver will shoot up six times from .89 million to 5 million ounces, he said.
He said direct nickel ore production is expected to slow down by about 20%, but nickel concentrate production will improve by almost 10 times with additional nickel processing plants coming on stream.
By 2011, the government also expects to have cobalt and zinc production of 4,500 MT and 20,000 MT, respectively. Ferronickel production is projected at 50,000 MT, while calcined nickel ore are at around 300,000 MT.
Mr. Atienza, however, clarified that the figures may vary according to plans of the mining projects.
Of the 63 priority projects, 10 are already in production, namely:
Palawan Nickel Project of Coral Bay/Sumitomo;
Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project of Lafayette Mining;
Canatuan Silver-Gold Project of TVI Philippines ;
Sto. Tomas II Copper Expansion Project of Philex Mining Corp.;
Teresa Gold Project of Lepanto Mining Consolidated Co. ;
Berong Nickel Project of Atlas Mining and Toledo Mining;
Masara Gold Project of Apex Mines;
CTP and PGMC Nickel Projects of Surigao Integrated Resources Corp.; and
PASAR Refinery Expansion.
Eight more projects are expected to go on stream within this year and early 2009, namely:
Carmen ( Toledo ) Copper Project;
Didipio Copper-Gold Project;
Palawan HPAL Nickel Project (Line 2);
Canatuan Base Metal Project; Filminera Masbate Gold Project;
Iligan Ferronickel Smelter Plant;
Manticao Ferronickel Smelter Plant; and
Phisaga Gold Project.