Politics

DoF chief to miners: Follow sustainable practices

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

MINING COMPANIES can potentially be a key driver of the Philippines’ long-term growth, but Department of Finance (DoF) Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno made it clear that they should follow responsible and sustainable practices.

“The mining industry holds the greatest potential to be a key driver in our recovery and long-term growth, especially now that world metal prices are high… We recognize that apart from boosting local development, mining is a strong magnet for investments that can propel our economy into a higher growth trajectory,” Mr. Diokno said during the listing of Philex Mining Corp.’s (Philex) common shares at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Wednesday.

The Marcos administration is committed to creating an enabling environment that will allow the mining industry to flourish, he added.

“In turn, we expect the mining industry to strictly adhere to responsible and sustainable practices. This is a non-negotiable condition so we can guarantee the sustainability of the industry and the strong economic growth of its host communities,” Mr. Diokno said.

The Finance chief said Philex, one of the biggest copper and gold producers in Southeast Asia, has been an industry leader in principled mining.

“I challenge Philex to continue setting an example for the country’s mining industry in striking a delicate balance between protecting the environment, uplifting local communities, and supporting our socioeconomic agenda,” Mr. Diokno said.

Philex on Wednesday held a listing ceremony for its stock rights offering (SRO). Around P2.65 billion raised from the SRO will be used for its Silangan project located in Surigao del Norte.

The Department of Finance in a statement estimated the Silangan project will generate around P8.5 billion in excise taxes alone for its entire mine life.

In 2021, the mining and quarrying industry posted output growth of 5%, from 2.6% in 2020, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The Duterte administration began a crackdown on the mining industry in 2016 as part of its effort to reduce the damage to natural resources.

However, the government lifted the four-year ban on open-pit mining in December 2021. In April this year, President Rodrigo R. Duterte had also lifted the nine-year moratorium on granting mining permits. — Diego Gabriel C. Robles