The Philippines mining sector is celebrating the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to lift a nine year old ban on the issue of new mining agreements.
The all powerful Philippine leader reversed a recent trend to stall mining activities in the mineral rich nation when he issued a new order to reverse sections of the controversial Executive Order 79.
In a decision that is being labelled as a move to revive an economy hard hit by COVID 19, President Duterte signed Executive Order 130 which lifts the 2012 moratorium on granting new mining agreements. His aim, reportedly, is to stimulate economic growth in the country including increased employment opportunities in remote rural areas such as those near Celsius Resources MCB copper-gold project in northern Luzon.
One of the newest project developers in the country following the acquisition of the high-grade JORC-resourced Maalinao-Caigutan-Biyog (MCB) copper-gold project, Celsius Resources (ASX: CLA) has made community engagement and local development goals a key to lead up to mine development.
The positive Presidential decision is expected to attract further new players like Celsius and a number of current and former Philippine miners.
There are reports that close to 300 mining applications have been awaiting approvals.
The Philippines is rated the fifth most mineralised country in the world, with the third largest deposits of gold, fourth for copper, fifth for nickel and sixth for chromite. The nation’s mineral resource assets are valued at around A$1.32 trillion, but according to President Duterte the country has tapped into less than five percent of its mineral resources endowment.
The President also sees mining as being potentially a major employer in a country where millions cannot find work.
Prior to the arrival of the COVID 19 pandemic, close to 200,000 workers were employed by the mining sector and this is expected to ramp up if the new mines are able to open up quickly.
Mining is also a key export earner for the country.
The Philippine’s Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) reported recently that the nation’smetallic mineral production value ended the year on a positive note with a 1.13% gain from PhP130.74 billion in 2019 to PhP132.21 billion in 2020, a PhP1.47 billion increase.
Nickel ore together with the nickel by-products – mixed nickel-cobalt sulphide and scandium oxalate ruled the production scene with PhP68.48 billion or 51.80%.
Gold earned the second spot with PhP47.60 billion or 36.00%. with Copper coming in third accounting for PhP14.88 billion or 11.25%. While the shared value of silver, chromite, and iron amounted to PhP1.26 billion which was less than 1%.