Mindanao to benefit big from PH nickel industry’s roadmap

Hosting several mining operations producing various mineral commodities including gold, copper, chrome, and nickel; Mindanao is seen to benefit big in the creation of the nickel industry roadmap being pushed by the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) primarily to boost nickel production in the country.

Charmaine Olea-Capili, executive director of PNIA, told Davao’s business writers that the association is projecting about two million jobs to be generated in Mindanao with the implementation of the roadmap, which aims to create more mineral plants that can process raw materials from nickel into finished and semi-finished products in the country for export.

“Malaki ang benefit ng Mindanao because majority of mining operations are in Mindanao. If you talk about regional economic growth, we are projecting right now you can generate two million jobs and imagine if you talk about velocity of money and how the rippling effect of coming up with jobs. You don’t just create jobs, you create businesses, create more global competitive advantage, aside from putting the Philippines in the global sphere,” Capili said.  

One of the major benefits that can be derived from mining nickel is the expected boom in the production of electric vehicles in the Philippines and other parts of the world. It has been known that nickel makes electric vehicles cheaper, safer and more efficient.

The e-vehicle industry is seen to be one of the leading industries that will drive the increase in demand for nickel in the country.

According to Capili, the roadmap is on its way and in fact the industry’s  stakeholders are advocating the creation of a technical working group which should be headed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR).

She added that they are just waiting for the confirmation of DENR.

“DTI has already confirmed and we have spoken to Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba and she is very happy that the nickel industry is coming up with a roadmap kasi sabi niya it will enable her to put the nickel industry roadmap in the national investment priority plan industry. She was happy because it was the industry that is really putting some effort in pushing the nickel industry roadmap because like government they cannot just do it alone and the industry cannot do it alone,” Capili said.  

She added that they are also consolidating all the inputs of the government, business sector and the non-government organizations (NGOs) and academe as inputs to the roadmap.

In terms of sustainable mining, Capili said, next year, the mining stakeholders  are going to release their contributions to the Social Development Goals (SDGs), which are integrated and indivisible, global in nature and universally applicable, and take into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.

“What we are going to do is we will gather the data again from our members. We focus on the community and the environment. For example sa SDG 15, ano ang level of compliance doon. On SDG 8 or about work ano lang level of compliance, as well as SDG 4 on education,” she said.

PNIA ensures that all mining companies in the Philippines are compliant and are practicing sustainable initiatives. In fact, as of June 2018 PNIA planted 5.3 million trees. According to Capili they allocated around 3 percent to 5 percent of their direct mining cost to the environmental protection program.

“Why are we planting trees? Because we have the environmental protection enhancement program which is also mandatory for us. We are not just planting trees, we are also doing marine protection programs, coastal protection programs. For the trees the mandate or requirement for the mining company is if you remove one tree, you are required to plant 100 trees,” she said.