Mining stocks continue to rise, but uncertainty remains

Through Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

Mining stocks kept their surge on Wednesday as the market applauded the lifting of the surface mining ban, prompting traders and analysts to assess the longer-term impact on earnings while shedding light on the surface mining ban. suspicious of the continuity of the movement when the country elects new political leaders.

“This is definitely a change for the mining industry, as the elevator will stimulate more investment in the industry. What we saw today [in the stock market] was a knee-jerk reaction as it will take time for formal business operations to materialize, ”Astro C. del Castillo, Managing Director of First Grade Finance, Inc. said in a telephone interview.

Signed on December 23, the administrative order (DAO) 2021-40 of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) lifted the national ban on surface mining, repealing the published DAO 2017-10 by the late DENR Secretary Regina L. Lopez, who was openly against mining.

Surface mining was first banned in the provinces in 2010, then became a nationwide ban in 2017.

“Mining issues ended in green territory today, as market participants applauded reports that mining regulators have lifted the four-year ban on surface mining.” Timson Securities, Inc. trader Darren T. Pangan said in a Viber message.

“In the short term, this development has strengthened sentiment towards the sector. In the longer term, investors could assess the impact this could have on the bottom lines of the companies concerned, ”he added.

On Wednesday, the mining and oil index improved 2.82%, shares of Philex Mining Corp. gain 3.82% and Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. 2.84%.

“I am sure the industry will step up a gear, given the opportunities that are open. I think investors are concerned that the regulations will hopefully change as the national government changes in the coming months, ”said Mr. Del Castillo.

“The Philippines will be on the radar screens of investors, especially foreign investors invested in the development of our resources, which are the mines,” he added.

Officials of listed mining companies hailed the government’s move, which Dante R. Bravo, chairman of Global Ferronickel, described as helping “get the economy going.”

“This is a timely and important policy change, as it will signal investors that the government is already open to new mining investments. Surface mining is one of the safest mining methods and this method will make many mining projects viable and mineable in a relatively short period of time, ”Bravo said in a text message.

“In general, we are optimistic about the metals market next year. The demand is high because we are running out of so many raw materials because consumption is rising sharply and governments are focusing on more infrastructure spending, ”he added.

In a Viber message, Francis G. Ballesteros, head of public and regulatory affairs at Philex Mining, said: “I hope this will create a favorable investment climate for the mining industry in the country and encourage investors to support expensive mining projects like our copper and our Silangan gold. project in Surigao del Norte.

“Responsible mining can be a catalyst for economic recovery amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, if it is allowed to prosper within the framework of government regulations, it can unlock prosperity for all without compromising the needs of future generations, ”he added.

Meanwhile, environmental groups opposed the lifting of the ban, citing the environmental consequences of the move.

Surface mining has been criticized for its effects on the environment, in particular the pollution and damage it causes. Acid mine drainage is a potential impact of mining that releases dangerous metalloids into local waterways and groundwater.

“I think it’s no surprise that there will be strong opposition to this, especially from environmentalists. But as long as the government can go along with the rhetoric to implement tough regulatory measures, then I guess it will be a win-win situation for government and environmentalists, ”Del Castillo said.

“We hope these resources will prompt the government to focus on manufacturing, not just importing raw materials. The success of this mining industry should be a partnership with the public and the government. The public should be responsible for reporting anomalies in the industry, while protecting the environment, ”he added.

The national coordinator of the People’s Kalikasan Network for the Environment, Leon A. Dulce, said the government’s decision would be damaging to the environment, especially after Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai.)

“It is a despicable move by the Duterte government to sneak around overturning the surface mining ban when people are concerned about the response to Typhoon Odette. Adding insult to injury, destructive mining is in fact responsible for the degradation of watersheds in the regions of Caraga, Negros and the central Visayas which has exacerbated the floods and other destructive impacts of Odette, ”he said. it declared in an email message.

The Kalikasan People’s Environmental Network reiterated these sentiments in a statement, saying lifting the ban is not a timely solution.

“We condemn the Duterte government’s lifting of the surface mining ban as people still respond to the plight of millions of people affected by Super Typhoon Odette. Talk about priorities in these times of crisis, ”the statement read.

“The promise that this decision will make money for the economic recovery is nothing but misinformation. Only 12% of the mineral resources plundered in the Philippines by major mines return to our economy in the form of taxes, fees and royalties. For every P10 value of minerals they loot, only one peso will go to the Philippines, ”he added.

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