Chamber Upbeat on Investments
MINING INVESTMENTS could hit $1.5 billion
this year given a possible second-half rise in demand, the Chamber of Mines
of the Philippines (CMP) said.
"China is doing its best to move its economy forward so the market demand
will be there," said Nelia C. Halcon, CMP executive vice-president, in a
A $586-billion stimulus package announced by China last year is already
being implemented, she said, to be used for various infrastructure projects
that will require minerals exported by the Philippines.
The chamberís forecast compares to the Mines and Geosciences Bureauís $800
million to $1 billion investment outlook, based on mining project delays
traced to the lack of credit.
For instance, Australiaís OceanaGold Corp. has shelved the development stage
of its Didipio gold and copper project in Nueva Vizcaya after failing to
secure $200 million to start commercial operations.
Late last month Apex Mining Co., the Philippine unit of British miner Crew
Gold Corp., laid off 150 workers to rationalize operating and development
costs in its southern Mindanao gold mine.
Ms. Halcon said the projects would still push through: "The delayed projects
will resume late this year.
However, industry observer Richard Mills,
chairman of executive search firm Chalre Associates, said "the projection
"When there is no credit [available for miners] and no one wants
commodities, it would be impossible for them to attain that," Mr. Mills said
in a telephone interview.
It would even be an achievement if the country nets the same investment
level as last year, he said. The government has estimated 2008 outlays as
having totalled just $630 million ó way below a $1-billion target ó as
mining companies struggled to find funding.
Meanwhile, Ms. Halcon said tighter rules on Indonesian mining may benefit
the country as early as this year.
The new law, she said, limits the size of exploration areas, imposes
additional mining permits, and requires miners to invest in downstream
"Instead of the foreign investors going there, they may go here," Ms. Halcon
She said that over the next two weeks, the CMP would be meeting with bankers
and officials of the Philippine Stock Exchange to make financial
institutions understand the industry and discuss listing options,
Mining investments have totalled $2 billion since 2004 when the Supreme
Court allowed complete foreign ownership of mining ventures, government data
The Philippines is said to be sitting atop an estimated $1 trillion worth of
unexplored copper, gold, nickel and zinc reserves.
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