PHL mining attracts US, Australia, China, UK


ADVANCED countries like the United States, Australia, China, and the United Kingdom are now looking at the Philippines with keen interest in mining, particularly nickel, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

Interviewed at the sidelines of the Mining Philippines 2023 Internationational Conference and Exhibition, DENR Undersecretary for Integrated Science Carlos Primo David said that while a few mining companies are fairly advanced already in developing the processing part of nickel, the DENR saw the need to further develop the downstream processing industry.

“The economics of it arguably should be studied because if it will not be worthwhile, why will we do it?  There’s already a study—one mine in Zambales…has commissioned an extensive study with the government of US,” he bared.

He said the study attempts to identify what type of processing, and scale of processing are feasible, as well as the potential partner-companies.

“What is exciting to me [is that], even non-traditional mining companies like the United States are now interested in looking at mining in the Philippines.  Of course, there’s China and Australia,” he said.

Critical minerals development is also attracting the attention of the US, as well as the UK, said David, a licensed geologist and environmental science expert.

“Because everyone now realizes that the next resource that will be important in energy production would be so mineral-intensive and it goes away from traditional sources of energy like coal and petroleum,” he said.

“You will now need these critical minerals and who owns it.  We are number 3 in nickel. We have the second largest copper deposits in the world,” he stressed.

According to David, the Philippines is a recipient of a US$1-million grant from the US for the study of nickel processing in Zambales.

Roughly, he said the DENR is eyeing the establishment of three downstream processing facilities within the Marcos administration, on top of the two existing nickel processing facilities.

Target areas include one each in Zambales, Palawan, and Surigao.

In Zambales, he said the supply from five nickel mining companies should be enough.  “If they can agree [to consolidate the supply], definitely, the volume that can produce [would suffice.]”

Image credits: Alexey Kornylyev |