MINING INVESTMENTS in the Philippines reached $375 million—just a little more than half of the $650-million target for 2009, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
“There were delays in projects, some because the principals were hit by recession,” said bureau chief Horacio Ramos. “So the target was not achieved.”
Still, this year’s figure brought to $2.5 billion the country’s total mining-related investments in the country since 2004, when the Supreme Court allowed complete foreign ownership of mining ventures.
When the government set its investment target of $650 million for the year, it expected demand to be driven up by China, which was ramping up infrastructure projects in preparation for a global economic rebound.
Despite this year’s huge shortfall, more investments may come in next year, when miners are expected to have improved access to financing as most industrial nations emerge from recession, Ramos said.
One of the biggest investors of the year was Xstrata, which undertook a $74-million feasibility study.
Among the projects held back by recession was that of Crew Gold Corp., which needed to raise at least $12 million for its Maco mine in gold-rich Compostela Valley in Mindanao.
Investment in the industry fell from about $700 million in 2007 to $650 million in 2008 as the global financial crunch made it hard for miners to access funds.
Geological studies indicate that up to 7.1 billion tons of metals may be extracted from the country’s mineral sites. –Riza T. Olchondra, Philippine Daily Inquirer