Foreign mining firms warm-up to investing in PH

Published June 14, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

Several offshore mining companies from Switzerland, Australia, Japan, and other countries have expressed interest to invest in the Philippines following President Duterte’s lifting of the country’s nine year ban on new mining projects.

In a statement, the Offshore Mining Chamber of the Philippines (OMCP) said it has been receiving many expressions of interest from major world players in offshore mining to explore opportunities in the country. Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) 130 officially ending d the country’s nine-year ban on new mining projects.

OMCP’s announcement has prompted a group of local mining firms to urge the Philippine government to only approve companies with enough technical expertise and capital to conduct proper exploration.

OMCP said among the foreign companies who have expressed interest to invest here are Primetals Technologies of Austria and Duro Felguera, SA of Spain.

Others who expressed interest are some funders from Switzerland and some professionals from Singapore, Indonesia, Europe, and Australia who are accredited under JORC and VALMIN, which are international professional codes for investors in the resources industry.

Aside from them, offshore mining-related companies from Indonesia, Malta, Australia, China, Hong Kong, and Japan also expressed interest in investing in the Philippines.

Among the Japanese companies are Nakanishi Shipbuilding, Kurimoto Iron Works, Kansai Design Company, and JTrade Company.

In view of this, the OMCP urged the Philippine government to approve offshore mining tenement applications only from legitimate offshore mining companies. These mining companies, the group said, must have adequate capital, proven technical expertise, and demonstrated capability to engage and deploy offshore equipment for proper exploration, seabed scientific research, and sea bottom profiling facilities.

For his part, OMCP Chairman Gary Olivar suggested that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) start a review of its mine tenement ownership systems and processes, with a view towards delisting inactive tenement claims.

“Land banking can occur offshore as well as onshore, and must be curbed in the greater interest of spurring this new industry to contribute to the country’s recovery,” he further said.

OMCP is a group of local offshore mining companies in the Philippines. It currently has seven members, namely Agbiag Mining and Development Corp., Cagayan Blue Ocean Offshore Aquamarine Services Corp. (CBO), JDVC Resources Corp., Northern Orient Resources Development Corp., Advanced Technology Resources Mining and Business Process Technology Provider Corp., Mineralogic Resources Corp., and Royal Line Mining Corp.

Olivar mentioned that one of OMCP’s members, CBO, recently invested heavily in an Offshore Exploration Tugboat named “AHTS NOAH”.

After paying all applicable duties and taxes, the vessel is now docked in Manila Port, from where it will soon be deployed in the waters off Cagayan and Pangasinan provinces for scientific offshore exploration, environmentally safe dredging of flood-stricken areas, and widening of rivers and offshore areas.

With specialized equipment like the HY600 HC cable dredge, the “NOAH” can see up to 100 meters below the sea crust for proper quantification of mineral resources under the ocean.

Its capability to do sea bottom profiles under the seabed can identify objects to be avoided, like corals, cables, vintage bombs, sunken vessels, etc. 

The “NOAH” can do efficient trenching of hardened magnetite iron deposits buried under the sea for millions of years, hence keeping the seabed ready for continuing bulk export shipments in the future.

It can also be used for anchor handling, fuel and water offshore logistical support, emergency facility for any contingencies, and other offshore marine services.

CBO is currently engaged by JDVC Resources Corporation and its parent Apollo Global Capital (APL), a PSE listed company, for preparing the seabed, bulk sampling, efficient trenching of JDVC’s offshore areas of operation, and all other seabed developmental stages preparatory to actual commercial production and export of magnetite iron.

 
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