$14-B investments in mining eyed from China within the next 5 years

By: Jeannette I. Andrade, September 7th, 2011 05:06 AM

Four mining agreements signed with Chinese companies which showed the government’s support for mining activities in the country could bring in $14 billion in investments within the next five years.

Speaking at the “Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel,” Chamber of Mines president Philip Romualdez revealed that at least four mining contracts involving nickel mining projects in Palawan and Zambales were signed during President Aquino’s recent visit to China.

Romualdez said the newly signed mining agreements between the Philippines and China could increase mining investments in the country by $14 billion starting this year to 2016 because of the maturation of a number of mining projects from exploration through the early and final feasibility stages.

“Assuming that all these (projects) materialize, we are looking at $14 billion (mining investments) starting this year through 2016. This year, we see more investments from China involving nickel mining,” the mining chamber’s president revealed.

Romualdez pointed out that the state visit of the President who was accompanied by mining company executives “restored the confidence of the Chinese government and Chinese companies in Philippine mining and the confidence that they have that the Philippine government supports mining throughout the Philippines including Palawan.”

Among the agreements signed during President Aquino’s state visit, he said, were between China’s Jinchuan Group Ltd and local mining companies Tranzen Group Inc. and Macro Asia Corp.

Jinchuan, he pointed out, has already committed to invest $1.5 billion in the Nonoc, Surigao mining project with Philnico Industrial Corp. But this depends if the Philippine government will decide to make Philnico its contractor.

Two other mining companies, the Oriental Peninsula Resources Group Inc. and Eramen Minerals Inc., have signed agreements for projects in Palawan and Zambales.

Romualdez said that Oriental Peninsula was able to secure investments for three projects involving hydropower, coal, and nickel off-take with Yun Feng, a company which owns and controls automotive companies and parts suppliers in China.

The Eramen Minerals project involves nickel off-take and nickel processing in Sta. Cruz, Zambales.

He pointed out that officials from 15 mining companies were in President Aquino’s delegation to China and their discussions with Chinese companies are anticipated to lead to investments in the coming weeks and months.

While the government is looking at $3 billion worth of investments, Romualdez said the mining industry has pegged the estimate at $1 billion because of delays in obtaining permits.

“Part of the problem is that the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) has been a revolving door for cabinet secretaries. We have had seven cabinet secretaries in the past nine years. In this administration alone, we have had two.

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