Mining can break PH unemployment, poverty-A A +A
Saturday, October 5, 2013
THE government can break the country's increasing unemployment and poverty by providing the necessary support to the mining industry, along with spending more on infrastructure and sustaining the anti-corruption drive.
Peter Wallace, Chairman of the Wallace Business Forum, said that mining can be a game-changer in achieving sustainable gross domestic product (GDP) growth of seven percent in 2013.
This performance can generate at least 112,000 direct jobs from $15 billion investments.
Wallace was among the resource persons during a recent mining conference in Pasay City.
The country's mining wealth is estimated at $840 billion or P47 trillion, four times the country's annual GDP.
But the Philippines account for only less than three percent of world mineral supply despite being richly endowed with such resources, he stressed.
Globally, the country ranks third in gold with estimated reserves of five billion tons, fourth in copper with about eight billion reserves, fifth in nickel with 0.8 billion estimated reserves and sixth in chromite with 40 million reserves.
Wallace further cited data from Geosciences Australia that explained that Australia's economy is driven by mining and agriculture, the country's largest export earner, accounting for 50 to 60 percent of the annual value of total exports.
Meanwhile, mining investments from 2012 to 2017 are projected to reach $13 billion to $15 billion and expected to contribute to three percent of the country's GDP by 2018. But these were "stalled by Executive Order 79 and the executive's inaction", he noted.
As a result, he said that informal, small-scale mining took over, mining communities remain poverty-stricken and the jobs are not created.
We need responsible mining instead of banning mining, Wallace added.
To do this, he suggested proper regulatory implementation such as putting small-scale mining under national control; strengthening the capability of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to properly and fully manage minerals development; implementing local laws and national laws consistently, with the latter upheld in cases of conflict; and keeping the revenue share of the government fair to keep the country competitive vis-à-vis other countries.
Moreover, the government must respect international treaties, honor agreements, and implement progressive restoration of land through full rehabilitation at the end of its mining life.
"Our daily lives are dependent on mined products, so we have to work together to control, not ban mining. We also have to generate more wealth for the country by adding value,' he said. (PHILEXPORT)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 05, 2013.