DTI eyes ore processing as value-added to mining

Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2022 06:46 PM

Aerial photo of the Taganito Mining site in Claver, Surigao del Norte during President Duterte’s aerial inspection on February 23, 2021. Toto Lozano, Presidential Photo
Aerial photo of the Taganito Mining site in Claver, Surigao del Norte during President Duterte’s aerial inspection on February 23, 2021. Toto Lozano, Presidential Photo

MANILA - The Philippines needs to develop an ore-processing industry to add value to its mining industry, the Department of Trade and Industry said on Tuesday. 

Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the country is a source of metals such as nickel, cobalt and copper. 

"Unfortunately we have been selling these metals as ores. We are exporting them as ores and we are not able to maximize value addition," Pascual said. 

"We need to move towards further processing so we are able to generate more value addition locally before we export," Pascual explained at the post-SONA economic briefing attended by members of Marcos’ cabinet.

Pursuing this venture will create higher quality and high-paying jobs, Pascual said, noting that these metals are critical to new and emerging industries such as the manufacturing of electric-vehicle batteries, and hyperscaler devices.

During his presidential campaign, Marcos said he hopes to generate additional value in the mining industry by further processing metals before they are exported. 

"Ang laki ng ating mga natural resources dito sa Pilipinas. Dapat siguro lalo na in these difficult times, we should take advantage of that," Marcos previously said in an interview with celebrity talk show host Boy Abunda. 

The president, however, expressed he is "wary" about open-pit mining due to the pollution it creates and the dangers it poses to nearby communities. 

Pascual meanwhile said while there are “roadblocks” to industrialization such as energy sources and logistics, he is confident that the Marcos administration will address these challenges.

Included in Marcos’ first State of the Nation Address was a push to create and take advantage of renewable energy resources. 

Among his 19 priority measures is the enactment of an Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry.

"This seeks to foster the development of the Midstream Natural Gas Industry in a bid to strengthen Philippine energy security by diversifying the country’s primary sources of energy and promoting the role of natural gas as a complementary fuel to variable renewable energy," Marcos said on Monday during his address.

Pascual also supported Marcos’ call to reopen the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to create an additional source of energy for the country, despite concerns from environmental and health groups. 

Logistical challenges will also be solved through new infrastructure, Pascual said. The "fragmented" logistics sector will be improved, lowering logistical costs, he said.

A massive infrastructure plan was also laid out by the Department of Public Works and Highways at the post-SONA economic briefing, which included 11 mega bridges connecting different high economic activity areas in the country and several islands to mainlands, as well as an expressway shortening travel time from the Ilocos region to Bicol region from 20 hours to 9 hours.

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