AUSTRALIAN companies are “well placed” to invest in the local mining industry following the recent lifting of the ban on open-pit mining, the Australia-Philippines Business Council (APBC) said.
The business group said in a statement on Wednesday that the recent developments in the mining regulations will help bring in more investments to the country, which can aid the economic recovery.
APBC was referring to the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining for copper, gold, silver and complex ores; and ending the moratorium on new mining agreements.
“These developments are expected to usher in significant benefits to the economy including manufacturing resurgence, and step up investor confidence,” APBC said.
It pointed out that both initiatives have strict regulations that can ensure environmental sustainability and community safety.
APBC President Rene Cabrera said that “mining is one industry that truly highlights the complementarity between Australia and the Philippines.”
“The Philippines has vast untapped natural resources; Australia is a global expert in minerals development and production underpinned by responsible mining practices sought by the Philippine government and community. The potential for rewarding opportunities has always been there,” he added.
The council noted that the country is the fifth most mineralized nation in the world, given that it has among the largest deposits of gold, copper and nickel.
The $.132-trillion mineral resource assets of the Philippines are yet to be tapped, it added, pointing out that “30 percent of its total land area has mineral potential but less than three percent is covered by mining tenements.”
“Australian companies are well placed to capitalize on these developments,” said Jose P. Leviste Jr., Special Advisor to the APBC and former Chairman of OceanaGold Philippines.
Among the areas of opportunity he cited are mineral exploration, mining equipment supply, engineering services, specialist software and industry education and training.
Last year, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson welcomed the lifting of moratorium on processing new mining projects, saying it was a “really positive step forward” for the country.
The Australian mining firms, Robinson said, are “already thinking about what…the future holds for them as result of the ban..being lifted.”
Over 300 Australian companies in the country are employing about 44,000 Filipinos in mining, shipbuilding, energy supply, retail trade, accommodation and food service facilities, manufacturing, transportation and storage. At least 200 of these are in the information technology-business process management industry.