PHL viable as minerals processor partner–DTI

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THE Philippines can be a “vital partner” for the critical minerals such as nickel and copper, among others, not only as an exporter of raw ores but as a processor and producer of semi-finished and finished products, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said on Monday.

“Mineral processing is crucial given our resources of green metals such as nickel, copper and cobalt,” Pascual said in his keynote speech at the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex) Inaugural Meeting and Induction.

The Trade chief said these minerals can be used for “downstream industries” such as electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing, hyperscale data centers, and renewable energy projects.

As Pascual woos countries to consider the Philippines as a processor of these critical minerals, he said the country has Indonesia as a model.

In a separate televised interview on Monday, Glenn G. Peñaranda, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary for Foreign Trade Service Corps, said Glencore, a Swiss multinational company that is involved in the processing of minerals in the Philippines, expressed interest to expand mining and processing operations in the Philippines.

Peñaranda echoed Pascual’s call to invite companies to process the Philippines’s minerals so that there will be value added, instead of just exporting it as raw material.

In a news statement issued on Thursday, the Trade department said, “They [Glencore] see the Philippines as a potential partner to process nickel and copper resources responsibly and sustainability for use in electric vehicle batteries and energy storage units, among others.”

Glencore is one of the largest and “globally diversified” natural resource companies in the world.

According to its web site, Glencore extracts and processes copper ore in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Australia and South America. The Swiss multinational firm added that it recycles copper scrap. Moreover, it smelts and refines copper.

The natural resource firm said it supplies a wide range of customers from the automotive, electronics and construction sectors.

As for nickel, Glencore said, it is a “leading producer and marketer of nickel, as well as a recycler of nickel-containing materials such as batteries.”

“We produce some of the world’s purest nickel. Our marketing business markets nickel and nickel concentrates, as well as by-products and ferronickel. Our nickel operations are in Canada, Australia, Norway, and New Caledonia,” Glencore said on its web site.

The Philippines’s trade chief has always sought assistance from governments and private sectors of different countries such as Germany and South Korea, among others, to tap the Philippines’s “significant” green metal reserves of nickel and copper.