THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is planning to turn about 8,000 hectares of land owned by the Philippine Mining and Development Corporation (PDMC) into mineral processing industry zones.
PEZA Director General Charito Plaza said last week that PMDC has more than 8,000 hectares of mining areas, including Mt. Diwalwal in Monkayo, Compostella Valley.
“What happened in Diwalwal is that there are no investors. Squatters are operating illegally. So the president of PMDC came and we will be signing an MOA. All those mining areas of PMDC will be declared as mineral processing industry zones,” said Plaza.
“We will be inviting investors who will put up mineral processing plants. For example in Diwalwal, that is a gold mining area, so once we bring in a gold mine processing plant, which many already manifested to come, we will be able to put a stop to the illegal extraction of our minerals and the smuggling,” added Plaza.
The PEZA chief said the move is also in response to President Duterte’s call to stop the export of raw minerals and to establish a downstream industry in the country.
“We will help PMDC put order in these mining areas owned by the government. This project of PEZA inviting mineral processing industries is the answer. It can add more industries, create more jobs and we will put a stop to the exportation of raw minerals and will at the same time protect the environment because what is happening now is most of our mining companies don’t have mineral processing industries so they sell the minerals raw, including the soil,” she said.
Plaza said the government will also invite basic industries like steel to lessen the Philippines’ dependence on imports.
“Every year, we import P500 billion worth of steel. So PEZA is now inviting basic industries like steel to come because we have the raw minerals as their source of finished product,” Plaza said.
She said the draft of the agreement has already been sent to PMDC for review.
“By November we hope to launch already the Philippine Economic Zones map. We will put in the map the existing economic zones and industries and the new economic zone industries,” she said.