The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) expressed hope for the speedy recovery of the extractive sector with the support of the Marcos administration.
COMP president Mike Toledo said the administration acknowledges mining as a priority sector with a high-growth potential that will help the economy recover.
“We in the chamber like to think that we are up to the task with the changes we have been carrying out within our ranks. Since our last conference, we have been laying the groundwork – using a deliberately phased approach – to further improve our members’ environmental, social and governance [ESG] performance by way of the Towards Sustainable Mining [TSM] initiative,” he said at the 2023 Mining Conference at Shangri-La Edsa Manila in Mandaluyong City.
COMP said it completed the “Filipinization” of TSM’s performance measurement tools including those on climate change adaptation during the pandemic.
The chamber said it was on track to meeting targets and would release to the public the 2023 and 2024 externally-verified self-assessment reports of all operating members.
The group said that it took a global contagion to recognize the value of mining to the country’s economy and lift the moratorium on new mining projects and the ban on open pit mining.
COMP said the large copper-gold projects that were stymied by the policy roadblocks – Tampakan, Silangan, and King King – are now in a better position to proceed to development.
“If we can establish stable mining policies over the long term, we can see more projects coming onstream. The industry’s potential will grow even more over time. And the Chamber of Mines is extremely hopeful that stability is just around the bend,” Toledo said.
COMP said it supports the government’s move to rejoin the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative, as it remains open to any undertaking that encourages good governance.
Miners also saw the need to address the divided public opinion on mining with the creation of the National Unified Information, Education, Communication Program (NUIECP)—an initiative of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to improve public perception on mining.
Toledo said the industry was resolving other issues affecting investments in the industry such as conflicting local and national laws, high power costs, a protracted permitting process and a fiscal regime that would not only enhance the Philippines competitiveness as a mining investment destination, but also chart its journey from being a mere “beneficial” industry to one that is “essential” and “critical”.
“Mining has become more than just an enterprise that deals with rocks and dirt. Global trends, the challenges they pose, and the positive changes being effected by our policy makers and industry players aimed at ensuring sustainability are gradually transforming mining as an area of growth, responsibility, and a future that gleams with possibility. More positive changes are needed, but I believe the signposts show that we are on a course that is likely to result in success,” he said.