Mindanaos mining attracts investors

Mindanaos mining attracts investors

CHINESE investors believe that mining industry is the “ace” of Mindanao, the new Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Li Jinjun said in a briefing with national government officials Monday.

The Chinese envoy confirmed that there are two Chinese firms currently negotiating with the Philippine team specifically in Mindanao and are set to pour in $500 million as a start-up investment.

“Three to five years from now, we are expecting about eight Chinese companies to partner with Philippine mining companies due to the big potentials of the mining industry in this country,” Li said.

China’s biggest nickel company is already pouring in about $1 billion in Surigao.

Li added that there are four more Chinese investors who expressed interest of tapping Mindanao’s mining resources.

Data showed that nickel reserves in Mindanao has a value of $215 billion, copper reserves with $6.49 billion, and $2.01 billion for gold. Mindanao, too, accounts 48 percent of the country’s gold reserves and 83 percent for nickel.

China, seeing the potential, has started aggressive negotiations with the Philippine government most especially in some parts of Mindanao.

“However, besides promoting mining industry to Chinese investors, we also see to it that we maintain environmental protection,” Li said.

He added that China will never develop mining at the expense of the environment. This has pushed both parties; from the China team as well as the Philippine team, to strictly weigh the costs and benefits of mining in particular areas in Mindanao.

“We are taking a big portion of the mining budget for environmental protection. This is a major component as we invite more Chinese investors to the Philippines,” Li added.

Meanwhile, China is also eyeing Mindanao’s tourism sector as it could lure more investors into the country.

The new envoy, alarmed by the decreasing number of Chinese visitors to Mindanao, is planning to drum beat information dissemination about Mindanao to be absorbed by the China market.

“I believe the reason for the decline is the lack of information of the Chinese people about Mindanao,” he said.

The ambassador is also planning to create a new column of the Chinese embassy website that would show information about Mindanao.

Other potential investments in Mindanao that the envoy found attractive are the following: education, fisheries, culture, as well as agriculture.

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