Mining targets $1-B investments in 2013

by Jonathan L. Mayuga, BusinessMirror

Posted at Apr 22 2013 07:38 AM | Updated as of Apr 22 2013 03:38 PM

MANILA - Mining investment inflows in 2013 may reach $1 billion as earlier predicted in a fitting follow-up to last year’s performance that saw actual mining investments in priority mining projects in various stages of development reaching $791.69 million, Director Leo Jasareno of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said over the weekend.

The 2012 achievement surpassed the government’s revised target of $509.24 million for the year, Jasareno added.

With last year’s goal more than met, the DENR-MGB again revised its
mining investment targets for the next four years, hoping that the lifting of a mining moratorium last month will reel in more mining investments.

For 2013, the goal is $758.47 million, slightly higher than the $718.47 million as revised in November last year. For 2014, the target is $901.75 million from $851.75 million.
Projection for 2015 is retained at $757.60 million and that for 2016 is also kept at $619.50 million.

Jasareno said he expects key mining projects such as the Toledo Copper Project of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp., Surigao Sumitomo HPAL project, Tampakan copper-gold project of Sagittarius Mines Inc. and Didipio copper-gold mine to bring in substantial amounts of investment within the year.

For Toledo, an investment of $50 million is expected for the Surigao Sumitomo HPAL project.

The $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project is seen to attract $200 million this year, while Oceana Gold Corp., which operates the Didipio copper-gold mine in Nueva Vizcaya, is looking at $10 million to develop infrastructure in the mine.

The actual mining investments for 2012 were still way below the government’s original expectation of $2 billion, before the DENR imposed the moratorium in the acceptance and processing of new mining applications in March 2011 and the issuance of Executive Order 79 by President Aquino and its implementing rules and regulation by Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje.

The mining moratorium was effected to allow the MGB to weed out speculators that applied for mining permits, but were not actually serious in making any investment.

After the moratorium was lifted in March, or more than two years after it was imposed, the DENR, however, received fewer than 200 new applications, barely 10 percent of the 2,000 mining areas that are up for grabs or open to new mining applications.

The MGB was forced to cut down mining-investment projections in November last year after some companies decided to delay big projects, in connection with the mining moratorium and the issuance of Executive Order 79, which seeks a bigger government share in profits of mining companies.