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PHL mining sector’s share in GDP at P102B in pandemic–Cimatu

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ENVIRONMENT and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has defended the Philippine mining industry, citing its contribution to the Philippine economy amid the pandemic.

The chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday reported the mining industry contributed a total of P102.3 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020 despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Citing a report released by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the DENR said the metallic mineral production value of gold, nickel ore, mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide, scandium oxalate, chromite, and iron reached P132.69 billion.

On the other hand, the total value of minerals, mineral products, and non-metallic mineral manufacture exported in the past year was at US$5.2 billion.  The minerals industry contributed about P25.52 billion from national and local taxes, fees, and royalties.

Meanwhile, the DENR said the mining sector has allocated P379 billion for the implementation of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program as of December 2020. In terms of job generation, the mining and quarrying activities generated 184,000 jobs while operating companies have allotted around P25.71 billion for the Social Development Management Program (SDMP).

The report also said that a total of 36.87 million seedlings have also been planted on 28,717.37 hectares of land for the Mining Forest Program as of December 2020.

In a statement, DENR Secretary

Cimatu said the report shows how the mining industry plays a “huge role in the country’s economic growth despite the pandemic.”

President Duterte recently signed Executive Order No. 130 which amended Section 4 of President Aquino’s Executive Order No. 79.  In effect, Duterte’s order lifted the moratorium on new mining projects.

Duterte’s order, which aims to boost the government’s Covid-19 recovery effort, was criticized by environmental groups as a betrayal of the late DENR chief Gina Lopez’s legacy.  Lopez, Duterte’s first DENR Secretary, ordered a mining audit that resulted in the suspension of 26 large-scale mining projects.

“Amidst the pandemic that we are experiencing, the mining industry strived and did its part.  We are happy to know that this has been the outcome of the mining operations in the country over the past year,” Cimatu said of the report that cited the economic, social and environmental contributions of the Philippine mining industry.

“Contrary to what others are saying, this is an indication of how massive the contribution of the mining industry is to our economy,” he added.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, DENR-MGB Director Wilfredo G. Moncano instructed the regional offices to allow mining companies to realign their unutilized SDMP funds to support the affected impact and non-impact communities.

Cimatu has assured the public that the DENR will continue to strictly monitor the operation of mining companies and strengthen the implementation of their safety and health, environmental and social development, and management programs.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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