COMP urges next administration: allow mining industry to ‘flourish’
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said the next administration must ensure a stable business environment whereby policies are reliable, contracts and investments are protected and rules are not changed mid-stream.
“But first, please allow us to flourish. Modern mining technology, global mining standards, and the increasingly stringent laws of the land governing mining have evolved in the last two decades to assist, enable and guide the industry to become a responsive partner. We like to think that we have also evolved in lockstep with these developments,” said COMP chair Michael Toledo in a speech before diplomats and consular officers on Wednesday.
He said such a stable environment would enable the industry to support the country’s postpandemic recovery efforts.
Toledo said mining “has a tremendous potential to contribute to socioeconomic growth,” adding the country has an estimated untapped mineral reserves of $1 trillion, equivalent to three times its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021.
The mining industry used to be a huge contributor to the Philippine economy, particularly in the 1980s when it accounted for 21 percent of the country’s export earnings and over 2 percent of GDP.
However, in 2020, the industry’s share in total exports and the Philippine economy dropped to 8 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
Toledo attributed the decline to a combination of factors, among them the “policy roadblocks” that included the nine-year moratorium on new mining projects and the four-year ban on open-pit mining.
At the same time, the industry is asking the next administration “to harmonize local and national laws to avoid conflicts on the ground.” Toledo alluded to the Tampakan mining project in Mindanao, which is being stalled by a provincial code that still bans open-pit mining.
Tampakan, along with two other copper-gold projects Silangan and Kingking, can increase yearly national government revenues by P12 billion a year, local government revenues by P1.5 billion, exports by almost $2 billion and social expenditures by close to P800 million per year, he said.
Royalties to indigenous tribes, meanwhile, would increase by over P600 million annually, he added.
“We in the Chamber are determined to be a strong partner in nation building—one with a strong focus on social development, on minimizing the impact of our operations on the environment, and on ensuring a fair division of economic and financial benefits of mining,” said Toledo.
—Jordeene B. Lagare
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.