The Philippines creates ‘mining accountability’ body

The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced Tuesday it is creating a new body to guarantee the country’s mining sector transparency and accountability.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje told The Inquirer, the ruling was among the reforms introduced by President Benigno Aquino III to ensure revenues coming from the sector are utilized “in the most efficient and effective manner.”

The creation of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) will make all companies engaged in the country’s mineral sector report what they have paid to the government. Authorities, in turn, will have to report what they have received.

A 2012 decree established a Mining Industry Coordinating Council to oversee the sector, which banned mining from some 78 areas considered sensitive ecosystems, crucial to farming or tourism or unsuitable for other reasons.

After that ruling, foreign investment in the resources sector in the Philippines plummeted.

Never that high to begin with, investment in the island nation now attracts less than $500 million worth of mining investment.

The archipelago is rich in copper, gold, silver and chromium and at the moment produces about 10% of the world's nickel, but minerals make up only 8% of its exports.

Image by qvist