‘Mandatory mineral processing via legislation won’t work’
Philippine Daily Inquirer
2018-04-02 06:59:42

Current proposals by some sectors to ban the export of unprocessed mineral ores in a bid to boost domestic mineral processing would not work, mining experts said.

At a forum organized by independent think tank, Stratbase ADR Institute (ADRi), experts from the academe, government and industry discussed the Philippine mining industry, in the context of promoting national security through industrialization.

“There is a need to look at the massive mineral potential of the Philippines today more than ever, especially in the context of the Duterte administration’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. Having a conversation with all sectors will help uncover issues and solutions vital to pursuing mining downstream industry development to further our national security interest,” said Stratbase ADRi president Dindo Manhit.

Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship secretary general Lysander Castillo said, “There are existing local models that perform beyond laws that set high benchmarks in environmental protection and community development for all mining operations to emulate.”

Ateneo School of Government dean Ronald Mendoza presented his study, “Mining Through the National Security Lens” where he cited the lack of viable investments and capacity in processing and strong competition from other countries as among the factors that make the proposed ban counterproductive.

Mendoza said imitating the mineral industry models in countries like South Korea, China and Australia would be unsound, because unlike the Philippines, these countries have “complete value chains.”

Former Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said, “It is the market, we cannot legislate that (mandatory processing). Indonesia found out they can’t even if they passed a law on forced processing.”

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