MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine mining, which was expecting a boom year in 2009, will instead likely see a fall in investments due largely to the global financial crisis, industry and government officials said Wednesday.
"I expect a little downgrading (of investments) but we are still optimistic," said Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza at a business forum.
Horacio Ramos, head of the Mines and Geosciences Board, said the original target was for a billion dollars in mining investments this year but this would likely be downscaled to about $800 million.
The government had projected $850 million in investments in the resurgent mining sector in 2008 but got just $650 million as the global financial turmoil took hold, Ramos said.
Mineral exports in 2008 amounted to $2.31 billion compared with $2.1 billion in 2007, Ramos said but exports in 2009 may be lower due to the fall in prices of key metals.
Benjamin Romualdez, head of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, also said funding sources such as banks were hanging on to their money amid the uncertainty caused by the crisis.
He said the drop in investment did not mean the Philippines was now less attractive to mining companies. But he warned that the industry and the government would have to educate potential investors on how to invest in the sector.
Opposition from various insurgent groups, environmental and anti-mining organizations, local communities and even the Catholic church had also discouraged investment in the sector, Romualdez said.