NDC keen on funding new ecozone in Leyte

Published February 16, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


The National Development Co. (NDC), the government’s investment arm, has expressed interest to fund the development of the planned Leyte Ecological Industrial Estate (LEIZ), which seeks to expand the existing Leyte Industrial Development Estate, to develop the country’s downstream copper manufacturing sector.

NDC General Manager Ma. Lourdes Rebueno has expressed willingness to invest in the proposed LIDE expansion.

“We are interested to invest in LEIZ,” said Rebueno.

She said that majority of the 425-hectare LIDE, which is owned by NDC, have already been sold to investors.

The special economic zone established in 1978 is located in Isabel, Leyte. It is home to two major industries – Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (PASAR) and the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corp.

Project proponent Board of Investments (BOI) has already completed the LEIZ project conceptualization and awarded Palafox & Associates the contract to undertake the masterplan. The LEIZ technical working group has also been meeting.

According to the consultancy firm, the masterplan should be completed in June this year.

Under the plan, the BOI would like to develop the downstream copper manufacturing sector. A copper roadmap was one of the sectoral roadmaps completed by the BOI in 2012 in cooperation with industry players.

One of the action plans identified in the roadmap is the development of a zone to cluster the copper industry in Leyte to leverage the presence of PASAR, the country’s lone copper smelting and one of Asia’s biggest.

The proposed LEIZ will expand LIDE to house potential locators in the field of copper wire rod casting facility, downstream copper industry such as but not limited to copper wire producers, major industrial concerns that need power, and port facilities such as steel, and copper-using industries.

Aside from the downstream copper manufacturing, LEIZ envisions to create circular manufacturing to minimize their impact on the environment. The plan may also include an agricultural component and housing.

LIEZ will be established in several towns in Leyte near the existing LIDE in Isabel town. Planned investments will support the operation of PASAR with electrolytic copper cathode as primary product.

Part of the regional development plan is to diversify and expand the copper manufacturing sector to promote rural industrialization that will adopt and intensify industry clustering and create stronger linkage among small and medium enterprises. It will also take advantage of the presence of PASAR, which is the biggest contributor to the eastern Visayas Region’s industrial gross value.

The contribution of PASAR in Leyte indicates that the region is heavily dependent on industrial manufacturing. So far, however, PASAR gets its raw materials abroad and also ships it finished products outside Philippines.
Hence, its operation has no inclusive economic impact in the region.

PASAR produces 320,000 metric tons of copper cathodes every year, contributing about 30 percent of the Gross Regional Domestic Product.