• Mining production seen growing 9% to 10%

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    The country’s mineral production is expected to increase from 9 percent to 10 percent annually over the next four years, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

    In an interview, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said that the Cabinet Economic Cluster has projected an annual increase of 9 percent to 10 percent in mineral production from 2013 to 2016, in line with the implementation of the Aquino administration’s new mining policy.

    “That’s why we are hoping that the new mining policy will be adapted immediately once the 16th Congress convenes in July,” Paje said, referring to the proposed revenue sharing bill.

    Under the proposed bill, the government aims to increase its share from mineral resources to about 8 percent to 10 percent from gross revenue of mining companies. This as part of the “sweeping” mining reforms toward better management of mineral resources in the country, Paje said.

    The DENR chief attributed the growth projection to the lifting of the moratorium on the acceptance of new mining permits and the start of operations of key mining projects this year.

    “There are several companies already submitting their declaration of mining project feasibility [DMPF], while a total of 224 new applications for exploration permit has been submitted since the lifting of the two-year moratorium on the acceptance of mining applications in March,” he said.

    Several key mining projects, Paje said, will have significant impact mineral production and investment for 2013-2016, including the Toledo Copper Project of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp., the Surigao Sumitomo HPAL project, the Tampakan copper-gold project of Sagittarius Mines Inc. and Oceana Gold Corp.’s Dididpio copper-gold mine in Nueva Vizcaya.

    Meanwhile, other projects joining the production stream are the Siana Gold Project of Greenstone Resources Corp. in Surigao del Norte; the Santa Cruz Nickel project of Eramen Minerals Inc. in Zambales; H.Y Nickel-Chromite project of Sinosteel Phils. H.Y Mining Corp. on Dinagat Islands and the Camachin iron ore Mining Project of Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp. in Bulacan.

    In 2012, the Philippines’ metal output dropped by almost a fifth, following the suspension of key mining projects and lower gold purchases by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

    The Mines and Geosciences Bureau said that metal production value in January to December 2012 reached P100.798 billion, from P122.984 billion a year ago.

    Among those operations suspended include Padcal Copper-Gold Project of Philex Mining Corp. in Benguet; the Nonoc Nickel Project of Shuley Mines Inc. and Pacific Niclek Philippines Inc. in Surigao del Norte; the Leyte Magnetite Project of Nicua Corp. in Leyte and the Paracale Gold Project of Johson Gold Mining Corp. in Camarines Norte.

    James Konstantin Galvez

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