The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) lauded the lifting of open pit mining ban in South Cotabato saying this will finally pave the way for the development of the Tampakan copper gold project in Mindanao.
Based on COMP estimates, the initial 10 years of operation of the Tampakan copper-gold mine could generate national taxes of over P68 billion while local taxes could hover at P4.0 billion, and royalties for indigenous peoples reaching P4.8 billion.
The projected taxes and royalties would be on top of the targeted social development and management program valued at P2.6 billion, benefiting host-communities.
According to COMP Chairman Michael Toledo, “Tampakan would be a powerful vehicle to achieve a vibrant, multi-faceted local and regional economy that provides sustainable employment, business opportunities, and access to education, health, infrastructure, and other social development programs that will improve and enhance the quality of life of those living in these projects’ host and neighboring communities, including their children.”
He similarly noted that “the Tampakan project will be an essential post-pandemic economic recovery tool whose actual and potential benefits far outweigh the potential negative impacts.”
COMP primarily stipulated that “the lifting of the ban on open pit mining in South Cotabato aligns the local government unit’s environment code with national laws on mining, which allow this primary method of minerals extraction used by thousands of mines worldwide.”
As explained by the chamber, “open pit mines can be operated safely, according to globally accepted standards, and can be rehabilitated properly in a manner that provides alternative and productive land use after the life of mine.”
The two other copper-gold projects in Mindanao are the Silangan mine in Surigao del Norte; and the Kingking mine above the town of Pantukan in Davao.
When these three copper-gold projects in Mindanao would go on full swing, Toledo said, “They can increase national government revenues by P12 billion a year, local government revenues by P1.5 billion, exports by almost $2 billion, and social expenditures by close to P800 million per year.”
Relative to the entry of the new government leadership, COMP indicated that it will welcome “any regulatory changes that would allow the revitalization of mining in our country,” with the group qualifying that “the recent easing of mining policies, including this move by the South Cotabato LGU, would increase investment appetite for the industry.”
Toledo cited outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte for the enabling regulatory environment for the mining sector. He noted that the top-down approach in policy enforcement allows the enactment of local legislations that support the implementation of mining projects across host-local government units.
“We look forward to further growth under the new administration and are ready to contribute to economic growth, even as we continue to be fully mindful of our environment, social, and governance performance for the benefit of present and future generations of Filipinos,” the COMP chairman concluded.