The Philippines should immediately tap windows of opportunities in the next two to three-years to solidify potential investments in the mining sector, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines president Benjamin Philip G. Romualdez said.
In an interview with The STAR, Romualdez pointed out that the Philippines currently has a short window of opportunity to overtake its closest rival, Indonesia, in terms of attracting mining investments and actual mineral production and export. He explained that Indonesia is currently in turmoil in terms of the legal structure for its mining sector.
The Philippines, on the other hand, has finally resolved legal impediments for the mining sector and is now ready to accept more investors in the sector, Romualdez said. The only way the Philippines could reverse this momentum is if it changes its current mining policies, Romualdez said.
Romualdez said Indonesia currently earns about US$7 billion from its mineral exports as compared to the Philippines’ US$2 billion. Because of its current legal infirmities, Romualdez said the Philippines should try to attract mining investments that could allow the country to overtake Indonesia.
At the same time, Romualdez said the Philippines also faces collective competition from the Indo-Chinese countries of Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam in attracting potential mining investments. But he said the Philippines is currently the best country for mining investments because of its current policies.
However, aside from existing policies, Romualdez stressed the need for the National government to also ensure that local governments adhere or follow the same policies to ensure that the individual mining companies stay put. On the part of the mining firms, Romualdez advised them to observe “best practices” to allay the fears of local and ethnic, and indigenous communities.