Japan, Australia, Canada, EU vow to support Philippine mining industry


PUJADA Nickel Project site (Photo courtesy of Hallmark Mining Corp.)

The country's mining industry is expected to get a big boost after Japan, Australia, Canada, and the European Union (EU) have pledged to bolster strategic partnerships with the Philippines.

The commitment to revitalize the Philippines mining industry was made during a recent mining conference organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Stratbase Institute.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines, Endo Kazuya, emphasized the crucial role of mineral imports and exports in the economic ties between Japan and the Philippines. Japan, a significant importer of Philippine minerals such as nickel, copper, and iron, values a stable business environment.

“As the price of critical minerals, including nickel, could be volatile, a stable business environment is essential," Kazuya stated, expressing gratitude to the Philippine government for maintaining such stability.

“By working together to address challenges and opportunities in the mineral trade, Japan and the Philippines can further enhance our strategic partnership and contribute to the growth of our respective industries,” he went on.

He also indicated Japan's interest in a joint geological survey to assess the Philippines' mineral resources.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Hae Kyong Yu, highlighted her country's eagerness to enhance its critical minerals strategy in collaboration with the Philippines.

“This focus by the Philippines on critical minerals could not have come at a better time," Yu stated, noting the mining industry's significant contribution to Australia's GDP and employment.

She advocated for increased Australian investment and the introduction of advanced mining technology and services to the Philippines, describing the partnership as "a perfect match."

Meanwhile, Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines, David Hartman, pointed to the shared membership of both countries in the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, and Sustainable Development (IGF).

He assured that Canada is ready to support the Philippines' critical minerals development through research, capacity building, and value-added processing.

“Canada and Canadian companies stand ready to support the Philippines in harnessing the potential of these minerals," Hartman said, inviting Philippine partners to communicate their technical assistance needs to the Canadian embassy.

“My commitment to you is to give your request priority consideration,” he added.

Luc Véron, EU ambassador to the Philippines, expressed hope that the Philippines would join the Mineral Security Partnership Forum, which promotes sustainable critical materials projects and policy dialogue.

Véron stressed the importance of embedding strong environmental, social, and governance standards in the mining industry.

“From the perspective of the European Union, it is imperative that the mining industry would have very strong environmental, social and governance standards that are embedded in the daily practices of the mining industry,” he said.

Local perspective

Stratbase Institute President Dindo Manhit underscored the need for a stable policy environment to facilitate investment and ease of doing business.

He called for collaboration between the government, private sector, and investors to transform the Philippines from a consumption-driven to an investment-led economy, which would create jobs and improve livelihoods.

“And we need government, the private sector, and investors to really work together and find a common interest, find the common ground to achieve that investment, that goal for the Filipino nation,” said Manhit.

If roadblocks are addressed, he said the Philippines can harness the full potential of its mining resources.

Mining documentary

On May 7, mining groups in the country launched the video documentary entitled:  “Living with a Brighter Future.”

The documentary offered a comprehensive narrative on responsible mining practices, showcasing the collaborative efforts between mining companies, local communities, and local government units.

As part of the "Better Mining, Brighter Future" campaign, the video documentary was produced by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) along with the Philippine Nickel Industry Association, Philippine Mining and Exploration Association, Chamber of Mines – Caraga, Alliance of Responsible Miners and Operators – Visayas, Eastern Rizal Miners Association, and Mindanao Association of Responsible Quarry Operators Foundation, Inc.

Lawyer Mike Toledo, the chairperson of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, stated that mining companies have made substantial contributions to local communities through their Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) and have also made significant environmental commitments.

“Through innovation and modern technologies, the mining sector is reducing its environmental footprint and paving the way for a future where economic development and environmental stewardship go hand in hand,” he stated.

“Progressive rehabilitation efforts, coupled with investments in reforestation and environmental protection, demonstrate the industry's commitment to responsible stewardship of natural resources,” he went on.