Zambo Peninsulas rich resources draw mining applications

Zambo Peninsulas rich resources draw mining applications

Monday, August 28th 2006

ZAMBOANGA Peninsula’s rich mineral resources continue to lure both foreign and local mining firms to invest in this region.

This is the assessment of the Bureau of Mines and Geosciences regional office after it received, at least, 94 large-scale mining applicants this year.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Constancio A. Paye, Jr. noted that aside from the 94 mining companies that are vying to get the green light from his office, there are already, at least, three large-scale mining companies that are now in the drilling and exploration stages.

He said another three mining companies are also on the final stage of review and evaluation of their mining right applications by the central office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“These three companies have already finished acquiring basic mining requirements set by the 1995 Mining-Act, and they are likely to be granted an operation permit to mine,” he said.

According to him, roughly 70 percent of the applicants are targeting to extract purely gold and silver, and 30% for other high-grade ore such as copper, zinc, silica, iron and coal.

He said majority of the local mining firms who are applying for an Environmental and Clearance Certificate are co-venturing with foreign mining firms.

“It’s surprising that all the applicants that are currently applying for permit are large-scale mining companies, and majority of these companies have affiliations with foreign and established mining firm,” he said.

He said topping the list are foreign applicants from China, South Korea, Africa, Australia, and Canada.

In addition, he said Chinese engineers who are working for a mining company in China are scheduled to visit Zamboanga del Norte on September to undertake some tests and take some samples of gold ore.

Paye said an applicant is expected to spend a minimum amount of P2-million for paper works and consultations in the identified mining areas. This, he said, can translate to roughly P188-million in investments.

He said the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, has become a prime target for mining investments because of its strategic location, being near such big Asian markets as China, Japan, South Korea, and India.

Mr. Paye lauded investors, both foreign and local, for displaying a high level of environmental consciousness and social responsibility on top of their top-notch technical know-how.

Zamboanga Peninsula is currently hosting one of the largest mining operations in the country. The Canadian-mining firm TVI Resource and Development is currently operating a gold and silver project in Canatuan, Siocon.

He said the Canadian mining company has already spent millions of dollars since it started its operation in 1997. TVIRD is also the first mining company in the Philippine to be fully operational since the passage of the Mining Act in 1995, which mandates mining companies to provide money for environmental and social services to the host community.

Mining is one of the industries that is expected to dominate discussions in the upcoming 15th Mindanao Business Conference to be held in here on August 31-September 2, 2006.

Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Henrie Sutherland will be one of the major speakers in the opening ceremony to be held in the afternoon of August 31. Canada has invested heavily in mining ventures in the country since the past years, even as its government has been implementing a slew of development assistance packages in Mindanao and other regions of the Philippines.

There are, at least, three mining-related topics that are lined for discussion, namely: Mining Prospects in Mindanao: Where and What by Dr. Graciano P. Yumul, Jr. undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology; Mineral Development and the Mindanao Economy by Mr. Paul G. Dominguez president of the Sagittarius Mines; and Sustainable and Responsible Mining in Mindanao by Florencio Kennedy Coronel, director of Social Commitment of TVI Pacific Inc. (DT Wee)

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