‘Decisive’ action on mining conflict urged
The Philippine government must “act decisively” on its mining policy and bring an end to provincial ordinances that “defy” national law and “damage” international confidence in the country’s mineral investment policies.
This was raised in the “Consolidated Position Paper on Mineral Resource Development” prepared by the Philippines Australia Business Council, Australia Philippines Business Council, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.
“The much publicized ban on open pit mining in some localities and the general ban on mining in some areas have caused a slowdown on major projects and expenditure flows have been shelved with some investors looking beyond the Philippines for mining investments,” the joint position paper said.
A “clear statement” on how the government intended to intensify the mining industry’s growth as one of the priority industries would help shore up investor confidence, the groups said.
South Cotabato and Zamboanga del Norte have both passed ordinances specifically banning open pit mining.
Last Thursday, the Chamber of Mines issued a separate statement saying it was “deeply concerned” as the ban in Zamboanga del Norte affected two of its member-companies: TVI Resource Development (Philippines) Inc. (TVIRD), which operates a copper-zinc mine in Siocon town, and Philex Gold Philippines Inc., which plans to revive its gold project in Sibutad municipality.
The Inquirer earlier reported that the provincial assembly in Zamboanga del Norte had published the ordinance last week. In a statement issued Tuesday last week, TVI Pacific said it would challenge the “unconstitutional” ordinance in court.
The Chamber of Mines earlier expressed concern about the open pit mining ban in South Cotabato, which was signed by the outgoing provincial government in mid-2010.
The ban threatens the $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project of Xstrata Copper-led Sagittarius Mines Inc. When completed, the Tampakan project is seen to become the biggest single foreign direct investment in the Philippines.
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