Philippines seeks $122 mining investment in 2006

Philippines seeks $122 mining investment in 2006

The Philippines aims to lure mostly foreign firms to invest $122 million in mining projects this year, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said on Tuesday.

The targeted investments were on top of the $500 million previously placed by firms in 24 projects since 2005 as part of a programme to revive the local mining industry.

Benjamin de Vera, head of the bureau’s minerals economics division, said firms have so far invested a total of $47.91 million from January to May this year.

He said the government’s move allowing Lafayette Mining Ltd. to conduct a 30-day test run starting on July 10 on its copper and gold mine on a remote island in the Philippines was welcomed by investors.

Lafayette’s Rapu Rapu project was closed since October last year due to pollution violations.

The mine, the first to be developed by a foreign firm in almost 40 years, is among the 24 priority projects identified by the government to jump-start the revival of a nearly moribound local mining industry.

The government says the Philippines has $1 trillion worth of untapped gold, nickel, copper and other mineral wealth.

But many foreign firms have been put off by political turmoil, corruption, insurgencies in the resource-rich south and opposition by churchmen and indigenous groups.

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