Mining Conference Helps Reshape Views on PHL

The Philippines is not always considered by Australia’s mining sector as an export destination, but participation at the recent mining conference ExplORE Philippines has helped change perceptions.

As the world’s fifth most mineralised country, the Philippines has an estimated mineral resource value of around US$1 trillion, which remains largely untapped and is highly-ranked for a range of major commodities. This includes having the third-largest deposits of gold, fourth largest of copper, fifth of nickel and sixth of chromite. However, the huge potential of the Philippine mining industry remains untapped due to the country’s unfavourable regulatory environment.

In July 2012, President Aquino signed Executive Order 79, which attempted to address major issues for the industry. These issues covered exclusion zones; revenue sharing; consistency between local and national planning laws; indigenous rights; and mining safety standards. The uncertainty around these issues continues to deter foreign mining investment in the Philippines and it is unlikely that the regulatory environment will improve in the medium-term.

Despite the investment and regulatory constraints in the sector, Australian firms remain well placed to capitalise on future developments in the Philippines’ mining and resources sector. Late last month, Austrade Manila showcased Australian mining capabilities at the week-long mining conference which also included a visit to the recently opened underground mine training facility operated by SITE Skills Training Australia.

Anthony Weymouth, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner in Manila, said while there are numerous Australian companies active in extraction and processing and rehabilitation, the event provided an opportunity to showcase other areas of expertise across the mining supply chain. “The main opportunities for Australian companies at present are in consultancy, engineering and equipment supply so we focussed on highlighting these capabilities”, said Weymouth.

The conference keynote address delivered by Philippines Vice-President, Jejomar Binay, while acknowledging the importance of foreign investment emphasised the need for environmentally and socially responsible mining practices and balancing interests this over the long-term.

“Given the increasing focus to adopt sustainable mining practices, creates additional opportunities for Australia’s highly regarded mining sector,” added Weymouth.
The Philippines is also a signatory to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) agreement, which encompasses ASEAN countries and constitutes one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world.

29 October 2015

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