Groups seek repeal of mining policies

MANILA -- Various groups have called on the government to ban mining activities in the country due to supposed missed targets in the areas of employment, environmental protection, and indigenous peoples’ rights.

According to the book “Civil Society Organizations Assessment of the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (2004-2010) on Mining”, government records showed that only 35 percent ($2.1 billion out of $6 billion) of target investments and 66 percent target job generation (158,000 jobs) were achieved in the last five years.

The figures, which were taken from six agencies including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), also showed that the contribution of the mining sector to the economy only hovered between 1.4 percent – 1.6 percent during the period of 2004-2009.

The book’s producer Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) said the sub-par gains in the mining sector were also reflected in revenues, where only P26 billion was collected from the original P336-billion target.

As this developed, Trade and Industry undersecretary and managing head of the Board of Investments (BOI) Cristino Panlilio said the government eyed $1 billion in fresh investments this year out of the $13.5 billion targeted inflows by 2013.

“Mining is a very attractive investment area in the Philippines primarily because of the vast source of natural resource available in the country,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the Mining Philippines 2010 Conference and Exhibition at the Manila Hotel.

Panlilio said at least $9 billion worth of mining investments were already lined up for registration with the BOI, which include $5 billion investments of Sagittarius Mines Inc. for its Tampakan mining project in South Cotabato.

He also mentioned the $2 billion gold and copper Didipio mines project of OceanaGold Corp. in Nueva Viscaya and the $2 billion project of China’s Jinchuan Group Ltd. to develop the Nonoc nickel mines in Surigao del Norte. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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