Restoring mining sites a must in NEDA plan


FUTURE mining projects must consider the restoration of various mining sites, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

Neda Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon underscored  that the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) recognizes the importance of responsible mining.

Mining sites, Edillon said in a recent televised interview, should be rehabilitated and restored. This has to be ensured whenever mining projects are undertaken.

“Kailangan ay mayroon talagang provision para sa restoration, kasi mag-i-explore sila  magbubutas dito, butas doon, para lang tingnan kung ano ang talagang nasa ilalim. So dapat may provision para sa mag-rehabilitate, pag-restore niyan [There must really be a provision for restoration, because they will explore and drill holes here and there just to confirm what’s underneath. So there must a provision so they will rehabilitate and restore the land],” Edillon said.

Edillon said a number of examples may be found in countries like Australia and Malaysia where mining sites have been rehabilitated and restored.

Mining companies in the Philippines can emulate these examples when they undertake projects in the country, she added.

Edillon said environmental management is one of the most important aspects of mining in the country that needs to be considered.
She gave assurances that in the future, efforts at legislation on mining will necessarily come with many consultations.

Cobalt exports

Based on the PDP, the international sanctions placed on the export of cobalt from Russia could provide opportunities for the Philippines. Cobalt is a key input in the production of batteries.

The PDP stated the Philippines and Russia have similar amounts of cobalt reserves and are among the six sources of cobalt, after Australia, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of  the Congo, and Indonesia.

“Although the Philippines produces nickel-cobalt mixed with sulphide, the opportunity to add value and produce nickel sulphate (needed by lithium ion battery producers) in the Philippines has yet to be taken. Prolonged sanctions on Russian cobalt will likely increase investors’ interest in the Philippines,” the PDP stated.

Per the PDP, mineral resources of the country will be used for industrial value-addition. The plan states that mineral ores are preferred to be processed domestically for downstream industries.

It also stated that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) will also undertake programs to enhance the integration of the iron and steel industry with mining, to include increasing the supply of iron ore and coal.