DENR pushes gov’t-led mineral exploration

Date: Jan 3, 2019

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to push for various government-led mineral explorations across different parts of the Philippines, which has long been identified as one of the highly mineralized countries in the world.

“That’s the vision,” Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones said.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Assistant Director Danilo Uykieng said it’s important for the government to have the capacity to do its own mineral exploration so it would really know how much deposits are in certain areas in the country as well as their value.

The Philippines’ untapped mineral deposits — composed of nickel, gold, copper, iron, and chromite — have been estimated to be worth US$1.4 trillion.

But Uykieng said this is just rough estimate. As of now, nobody really knows how much the Philippines has in terms of mineral deposits and where they are exactly.

It normally takes billions for mining companies to be able to conduct mineral explorations. The Philippine government used to do its exploration too but we never did it on our own.

“We had various explorations in the 1960s to 1990s. That was in partnership with JICA [Japan International Cooperation Agency],” Uykieng said.

The government of Japan, through JICA, particularly assisted the Philippines to conduct a survey on the potential mineral resources in the eastern Luzon, Visayas, and Palawan.

In the end, deposits were found in Southern Sierra Madre in Leyte, Dinagat, Siargao, Cebu, Bohol, and Southwest Negros areas.

Years later, the government no longer conduct mineral explorations and while companies are allowed to do so, mining laws don’t allow them to touch whatever minerals they have found.

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