A number of foreign companies have signified interest to invest in the country’s offshore mining sector, encouraged by the recent issuance of Executive Order No. 130 that lifted the moratorium on the approval of new mining permits.
The Offshore Mining Chamber of the Philippines (OMCP) over the weekend said several investors from at least 12 countries were looking at the possibility of tapping offshore mining opportunities here, and had gotten in touch with their member-companies. Among these companies are Primetals Technologies of Austria; Duro Felguera of Spain; Nakanishi Shipbuilding, Kurimoto Iron Works, Kansai Design Co. and JTrade Co. in Japan.
Also interested to look at prospects here are funders from Switzerland as well as offshore mining-related companies from Malta, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Japan.
The OMCP is an organization founded in 2019, comprising of seven offshore mining companies that include Agbiag Mining and Development Corp., Cagayan Blue Ocean Offshore Aquamarine Services Corp., 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.
To date, only JDVC has the go-ahead from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to operate a large-scale offshore mining operation in the country. Under the mineral production sharing agreement, it can mine within an area of 1,903 hectares in the seabed off Cagayan. Commercial operations are expected to start this year.
With the expected influx of foreign investments into the mining industry, OMCP chair Gary Olivar said the DENR should start the review of its mine tenement ownership systems and processes to avoid land banking, or the practice of aggregating properties for future sale or development.
“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 said.
The group also urged the government to enhance its policing and regulation powers to ensure that only legitimate offshore mining companies will be given permits.