Mineral investments seen to reach up to $1B this year

Published by rudy Date posted on January 9, 2009

Mineral investments for 2009 are estimated to reach $800 million to $1 billion, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Horacio Ramos said yesterday.

In an ambush interview following the weekly press conference of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Ramos said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) remains optimistic about the prospects for the mining sector despite the global economic downturn.

According to Ramos, the DENR expects mineral investments for the year 2008, to reach only $650 million, much lower than the revised investment goal of $892 million.

This, he said, is due to the delayed investments of several priority mining projects such as that of OceanaGold.

For this year, Ramos said, it is “reasonable” to expect mining investments to hit anywhere from $800 million to $1 billion, much lower than the original target of $1.845 billion.

Ramos said earlier that the DENR-MGB is reviewing its mining investment target in the face of at least two companies delaying their investment plans.

Two companies, OceanaGold and Intex Resources, last year announced delays in their investments. OceanaGold continues to look for a new investor, while Intex expects to complete only this year its feasibility study.

As far as mining firms that have already secured their financing requirements prior to the financial meltdown is concerned, they are likely to maintain their investment schedule, Ramos said.

These include Atlas Consolidated subsidiary Carmen Copper Corp., Filminera Resources and Philsaga Mining.

On the other hand, mining firms that are still in the exploratory stage and have not secured their financing, are likely to slow down their operations, the MGB said.

The DENR was hoping that the Philippines would attain the distinction of being a “mining country” as early as 2009. The DENR had projected that investment inflows up to 2011 would hit $10.467 billion.–Marianne V. Go, Philippine Star

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