Philippine Daily Inquirer, 22 March 2014
By Ronnel W. Domingo
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) is pushing a public-private partnership (PPP) approach to the rehabilitation of abandoned mines, expressing its membersâ€™ readiness to foot the bill if regulators give them the opportunity.
Ronald Recidoro, COMP vice president for policy, said he had told the House of Representativesâ€™ committee on natural resourcesâ€”which conducted hearings on rehabilitation effortsâ€”that the government need not shoulder funding for these projects.
â€śThe private sector is more than willing to take on the challenge of rehabilitating abandoned mines,â€ť Recidoro said. â€śThe government just needs to allow it to be a viable business proposition.â€ť
Citing data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, COMP said that of the 31 large-scale mines that have shut down prematurely since the 1960s, 16 were under initial assessment for rehabilitation.
Of these mines, only the Bagacay mine in Samar was being restored, for which the government has spent about P150 millionâ€”a third of which came from a loan from the Australian government.
Also, the Privatization and Management Office has taken over many of these mines, with plans to reopen them under government auspices.
However, the chamber said, progress has been slow, to the detriment of the government and the host communities.
According to Recidoro, the COMP recommended that all prior rights or contracts of these mines be cancelled immediately and have these made available for mining application.
â€śThe MGB must conduct scoping studies of all abandoned mines and mineral processing impact areas to create an inventory list of abandoned mines, define the costs and risks, and develop a rehabilitation program to mitigate observed and potential threats to human health and the environment,â€ť he said.
â€śMine site rehabilitation plans must aim to establish a land use capability that is functional and proximate to the land use prior to the disturbance of the mine area, unless other more beneficial land uses are predetermined and agreed in partnership withâ€ť local governments and communities, he added.
COMP also proposed thatâ€”in cases where there was still a viable ore deposit in the abandoned mineâ€”the remaining minerals or waste from the mine be extracted.
The group added that, through a co-production or joint-venture agreement, a fixed percentage of the revenues from the extracted material must be set aside to fund the minesâ€™ rehabilitation and final closure.
If this could be done, the government would not need to spend or borrow funds for the idle minesâ€™ restoration, COMP said.
The Philippine Star, 22 March 2014
By Czeriza Valencia
MANILA, Philippines – The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) is proposing a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) structure for the rehabilitation and reopening of abandoned mines in the country.
During a recently-held hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources, the COMP recommended the immediate cancellation of all prior mining rights of abandoned mines and the reopening of these sites for new mining rights applications.
COMP vice president for policy Ronald Recidoro said funding for rehabilitation of these abandoned mines need not come from government funds if the private sector would be allowed to develop these mines.
â€śThe private sector is more than willing to take on the challenge of rehabilitating abandoned mines. Government just needs to allow it to be a viable business proposition,â€ť he said.
Before going on recess, the House committee deliberated on House Resolution Nos. 397 and 672, both of which call for an inquiry into the status of abandoned, inactive and closed mines in the country.
The inquiry seeks to find viable measures for the rehabilitation and restoration of the abandoned mines to productive use.
COMP noted that from the 1960s to the early 1990s, around 31 large-scale mines stopped operations because of poor metal prices. To date, only the old Bagacay pyrite mine in Samar is undergoing rehabilitation.
The Mining Act of 1995 which is enforced until now, requires miners to present a mine decommissioning plan and set up a decommissioning fund which would be deposited in a government bank, ensuring means and resources to properly close a mine site.
Prior to the enforcement of the Mining Act, the government was left to deal with the environmental impact of abandoned mines as the old mining law did not provide for proper decommissioning measures and funding for such.
Funding for the rehabilitation of abandoned mines are raised through foreign borrowings or through appropriations.
â€śThe MGB must conduct scoping studies of all abandoned mines and mineral processing impact areas to create an inventory list of abandoned mines, define the costs and risks, and to develop a rehabilitation program to mitigate observed and potential threats to human health and the environment,â€ť said Recidoro.
COMP also proposed that in instances where the abandoned mine still has a viable ore deposit, the remaining minerals should be allowed to be extracted and the proceeds used to fund the mine rehabilitation.
Recidoro said that despite the perceived dangers posed by abandoned mines, residents of these areas would favor the reopening of the sites as mine operations provide stable sources of income.
11 September 2012, Malaya Business Insight
Economic managers will explain the new mining policy to prospective investors in Australia ahead of the official visit of President Aquino next month.
An official privy to the event said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo will lead the economic briefingÂ for investors on the mining policy â€śand how it benefits themâ€ťÂ at a roadshow that starts tomorrow September 12.
The officials would to meet separately with mining officials in Australia to correct misconceptions and clarify ambiguous issues on Executive Order issues by President Aquino last July.
â€śThe group would relay the correct version from the horseâ€™s mouth because investors hear a lot of things about the mining policy,â€ť the official said.
President Aquino on October 22 to 28 would hold a six-day official visit to two of the worldâ€™s mineral-rich countries Australia and New Zealand these two countries to seek both business-to-business and government-to-government deals, in mining, infrastructure especially under the public-private partnership, shipbuilding, energy and even fishing.
The delegation would include members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.
Some of the mining companies being targeted for meetings and deals in Australia are BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, two largest companies in Australia; Indophil Resources and Xtrata Copper, investor in Tampakan copper-gold; Oceana Gold, investor in Didipio copper gold; CGA Mining Ltd., investor in Masbate gold mine.
Earlier, Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio indicated the possibility of sealing deals with some of these companies.
Other possible investors that the Philippine delegation would meet include Leighton Holdings of Australia, a mining contractor and is engaged in infrastructure and;Â Serco Group Asia Pacific, also of Australia in infrastructure.
In shipbuilding, four of Australiaâ€™s biggest shipbuilding firms are being being eyed:Â BAE Systems Australia Holdings Ltd., Austal Ltd., ASC Pty Ltd. and Thales Australia HoldingS Pty Ltd.
On energy, Australian firmsÂ may be tapped for LNGÂ terminals in the country Alliance Select, leading canned tuna manufacturer in the Philippines, is interested in fishing in New Zealand, bring the fish by reefer to the Philippines to augment supply here.
Joining the delegation areÂ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Assistant Governor Ma. Cyd TuaĂ±o-Amador, National Treasurer Roberto Tan, and Cosette Canilao of the Public Private Partnership Center.
THE AUSTRALIAN government has committed to further strengthen its business linkages with the Philippines, especially by way of projects included in the public-private partnership program list and those in the mining and business process outsourcing sectors.
According to the joint ministerial statement released at the close of the 3rd Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting last Thursday, the secretaries and ministers from the two countries â€śagreed on the potential of PPPs for further deepening commercial linkages between the two countries, given the strengths of Australian infrastructure-related companies.â€ť
The PPP program, the Aquino administrationâ€™s flagship project, aims to stimulate infrastructure build-out by getting private companies involved in the process. Projects lined up for the program include those in crucial areas of development, including rail, seaports, airports, roads and bridges.
The first deals to be auctioned off to the private sector are the operations and maintenance contracts for the Light Rail Transit Line 1 and the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
Key growth areas
Apart from PPP projects, the two governments also recognized the potential of the mining sector as another key area of growth and cooperation.
The Philippines currently plays host to a number of Australian mining firms, all of which have plunked in millions of dollars into their respective projects.
â€śThe secretaries and ministers agreed on the potential of the mining sector to generate significant economic and development benefits for the Philippines, as it had for Australia. They welcomed the increasing Australian investment in the Philippine mining sector and noted that Australian expertise in sustainable mining practices and mining technology services could assist the development of responsible mining in the Philippines,â€ť the joint statement read.
In line with their thrust to boost cooperation in the mining sector, it was agreed that Australia would host the 2nd Joint Working Group on Mining in the second semester, with a high-level delegation from the Philippine mining sector to participate in the event.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo also made a big push for the information technology and BPO sectors.
Citing estimates made by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines, he said the share of Australian firms in the local BPO pie had increased to 6 percent in 2010 from only 1.5 percent in 2008.
The other industries that he highlighted during the ministerial meeting were electronics, shipbuilding, engineering design, and construction.
In the area of education, Australia recognized the rise in the number of Filipinos enrolled in Australian schools, opening opportunities for more links and other partnerships between Philippine and Australian institutions.