In search of rare metals, PH leaves no stone unturned


Graphic illustrating the use of rare earth metals, 95 percent of which are supplied by China. The Philippines is leaving no stone unturned in its quest for rare earth elements, a major component of electronic products. AFP

The Philippines is leaving no stone unturned in its quest for rare earth elements, or REE—a major component of electronic products.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said the government had earmarked an initial budget for REE development work, with the exploration phase to begin sometime in the next three months.

“The budget of P500,000 is just for fieldwork this year,” MGB director Leo Jasareno said in a phone interview.

Additional resources would be allocated when an agreement has been signed with a technical partner. The Philippines is considering partnering with China.

The MGB has already found potential areas to explore, and these areas are also close to copper-gold mines. Palawan and Mindanao have been identified as the best places to start, but authorities have yet to determine if there are enough resources in those areas for commercial production, MGB said.

Last year, the country’s plan to produce REEs stalled after Beijing reneged on earlier commitments to help Manila despite several “reminders” by the MGB. This came amid a dispute between Manila and Beijing over the Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. Before the dispute, Manila and Beijing were set to sign a deal to jointly explore for rare earth elements.

Producing rare earth elements became a serious consideration for many countries last year when China decided to cap exports. At the time, the Chinese Commerce Ministry announced an initial cut of 27 percent in its exports quota for 2012, reportedly as part of a crackdown on illegal mining of rare earth oxides.

China controls 97 percent of REE supply globally and has been reducing its export quota to secure greater control over pricing, thus leading to a surge in prices over the past two years, according to observers.

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  • Verlito Ablin

    For Philippine national interests MGB must choose other partner than China.Choosing China as partner will be a high security risks..

    • batangpaslit

      You are assuming ma merong Rare Earth metals deposit ang Pilipinas.
      Ang meron ay China, Russia, Arctic, and Greenland

      • Verlito

        I think the Philippines had a bunch of rare-earth minerals as we are the 4th highly mineralized country on earth so to speak. Some of these rare-earth minerals were associated with copper ore concentrate and laterite soil we export in substantial volume to China.       

  • Dominic

    Nak ng pating, okay na sana. Then China ang partner? Sus ginoo. Ano ba klase utak meron tong mga taga MGB. Just a reminder, China became suddenly aggressive na kamakamin ang West Phil Sea after the joint exploration between PH, China and Vietnam. Entonses, pagka positive ang result, aagawin ata aagawin yan ng China. BEsides, the technology to mine those REE is not exclusively Chinese. Kayang kaya yan ng Pinas or kung gusto talaga ng partner, why not other countries na friendly sa tin? Hays….

    • batangpaslit

      Walang mai pagyabang ang Pilipinas pag dating sa Rare Earth Metals.
      No deposits.
      Pero ang China, Russia, Arctic, and Greenland meron

  • Fz20

    Dapat i-limit lahat ng tsino investments sa bansa ng siguro up to 33% lang sa mining at kung maari sa iba pang industries natin – habang mayroon dispute, bullying, occupation ng mischief reef at scarborough na ginagawa nila.dpat may yagbols tayo dito…hindi tayo nagpapa-uto o nagpapapokpok dahil lang sa tsinese money.diba congress/senate?

  • Diesel

    bakit china lang ang gusto nilang maging partner? daming bansa na naghahanap ng REE including USA. Wag ng maki partner sa China. Daming bansa dyan na pwedeng maging partner.

    • Pinoy_Reich

      Because behind every Chinese company is an American or European investor, that’s why.

      • batangpaslit

        walang rare earth metals sa U.S. mainland
        China marami

      • Manuel C. Diaz

        Are you sure you are not on drugs? The United States has all the REE but the US did not exploit them until now, California, Idaho, Montana Colorado have REE metals being mined now as a by-product.

    • batangpaslit

      Do you think you can produce Rare Earth Metals in the Philippines?
      Pero ang China, Russia, Arctic, ang Greenland meron sila

  • akapil

    Chinese companies are the worst, if we are thinking of partnering with, on REE or anything. Just remember, anything that you do with the Chinese is political. Even what you think is private company in China is actually government owned or controlled and they are being made instruments for the expansive policy of the Chinese government. They have become bullish in their dealings with the Philippines and other countries. Remember, the Chinese government is our ADVERSARY. Why would anyone in the Philippines think that they will be an equitable partner on anything? Let us not only wake up but must also be vigilant in protecting our country and making sure that the Chinese and the Chinese government will not use their companies and their cohorts in damaging and exploiting  the Philippines.

    Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Makatao, Makabayan, Makadiyos. 

    • divictes

      Well, the “tourists” have been here “appreciating” the scenery by the truckloads. 

      • batangpaslit

        natumbok mo….daming prejudiced na kabayan, eh. nagsasalita na hindi natimbang ang sinasabi

    • batangpaslit

      Alamin mo muna Tsong kung meron ngang Rare Earth metals ang Pilipinas
      Pero ang China marami
      Kahit U.S. mainland, wala. Meron ang Russia, ang Arctic, at Greenland

      • akapil

        Thanks for those who have knowledge about the Philippines not having any rare earth materials. Pero wala naman sigurong masama na alamin ng ating gobiyerno kung meron nga o wala tayo nuon. Importante rin nating magkaruon ng policy kung paano natin ide-develop ang ating mga likas na kayamanan. Ito baga ay ipauubaya natin sa ating mga advesary na alam naman nating wala silang pakundangan na gipitin tayo para sa kanilang kapakanan. Ang mahalaga ay magkaruon tayo ng national policy para sa protection ng ating mga mamamayan at ng ating bayan. This, I think is the major issue and not only whether we have or do not have this material.

        Ang alam ko rin, ang US ay dating major producer nito but for whatever reason, they abandoned its production and let the Chinese control everything about this material. Now America is waking up at palagay ko ay nagsisi sila, kaya unti unti ay binubuhay na uli nila ang production nito. Cheap labor should not only be the basis in the national policy about this very important material.

        Kaya sa ating pamahalaan at sa ating mga kababayan, kaunting ingat lang.
        Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Makatao, makabayan, makadiyos.

  • ramelatilano

    Try to develop at our own process don’t involve they are deceitful partner..believed me…its ours and we should do it for our own progress.

    • batangpaslit

      Saan ka kukuha ng Rare Earth Metals?
      Marami sa China, sa Arctic, sa Greenland, sa Russia.
      Wala sa U.S.A., wala sa Pilipinas

  • FreemindOnline

    China decided to cap exports on Rare Earth Metals because they know in decades to come these minerals will be used against them and their people. The fast-phased development with the use of this minerals will be detrimental to China’s world expansion plans.

    Sad to say for the coming decades, the Philippines will still be thinking below par, below means, below self esteem, below everything that will make a great nation.

    While other countries that are overly dependent on Rare Earth metals for development, the Philippines is still overly dependent on Overseas workers, backyard industries, and the United States for it’s development. What a sorry state!

    While other countries are investing much on finding a source and possible an alternative to this rare minerals for their own use, the Philippines is ensuring it’s slavery by offering itself to be mined, raped, devastated!

    While other countries are budgeting millions of US dollars for ensuring supply of this rare minerals, the Philippines allocated a measly 500 thousand pesos or around 12195US$ (41:1). I don’t know if this is a show of saving face or a scenario of invitation to invite illegal Chinese mining companies in the Philippines to go legal by co-exploration and all-to-China mining output.

    I think it is true that the Philippines does not have the right to own any mineral resources it is seating on. The Philippine government is just offering itself to any country with power except to it’s own people. So why  deal with a weak government when at the end of the day any powerful country can own the Philippine and it’s people by economic, financial, or even by force. Just manipulate the government and let it’s people work themselves to the ground then we’re gone!

  • romjov2009

    remember northrail?china is not a good partner at the moment due to our disputes with them find another worthy partner not those communist bully

  • just

    The MGB must be nuts. If China has the tendency of hoarding and manipulating the prices, would that not make us an accomplice to such acts. We should partner with either the US, EU or Japan. We benefit from a large market and their technological expertise. With China, you get low prices and with no technology transfer.

  • Fred

    MGB, pwede ba wag na kayong maki partner sa red china? Sila ay tuso, sinungaling at bully!

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