Mining revival eyed to generate rural jobs, says Dominguez
MANILA, Philippines — The government plans to privatize at least a couple of its mining assets to not only raise revenues but also revive the sector and provide “good” jobs in the countryside, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Wednesday.
During the 46th Philippine Business Conference and Expo, Dominguez told members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) that the government was “pushing for the revival of the mining industry.”
Specifically, Dominguez said mining operations will benefit rural areas where there were no alternative employment among the locals used to mining jobs.
Dominguez said the Department of Finance (DOF) through its attached agency, the Privatization and Management Office (PMO), recently completed a review of the government’s mining assets.
The PMO’s website showed four mining assets transferred to the government: mining claims for Basay Mining Corp., Hercules Minerals and Oils Inc., and Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corp.; as well as mining claims, pieces of machinery and equipment of Nonoc Mining and Industrial Corp.
These mining assets were included in the list of various public assets, including land properties and shares of stocks in corporations, which were in the PMO’s disposition pipeline.
“I have asked them [the PMO] to really push the privatization of Nonoc mines, of Basay mines, and all the other mines that are held by the government,” Dominguez said.
The valuations of these mines were currently being updated, Dominguez later said on Viber.
Dominguez said the DOF was working closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as well as the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to “really push mining to open again.”
Pending in Congress was a DOF-backed legislation to put in place a new mining fiscal regime aimed at increasing public tax revenues and attracting more private investments.
Last month, Dominguez said the government by late 2021 or early 2022 will look for additional revenue sources “to pay for the heavy indebtedness that we are incurring this year” to finance the COVID-19 response.
As of Oct. 2, the DOF secured $9.91 billion in loans and grants from multilateral lenders and bilateral development partners as well as offshore commercial borrowing to fight the health and socioeconomic crises inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far this year, the DOF also raised $1.55 billion from loans extended by Japan and South Korea for various big-ticket infrastructure projects under the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program, which Dominguez had said will help the economy rebound from the pandemic-induced recession.