THE mining sector accounted for P102.3 billion, equivalent to 0.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2020, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

The MGB said in a statement Tuesday that the value of metallic mineral production, including gold, nickel ore, mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide, scandium oxalate, chromite, and iron was P132.69 billion, while the total value of exported minerals, mineral products, and non-metallic mineral manufacture amounted to $5.2 billion.

“Meanwhile, the minerals industry contributed about P25.5 billion in national and local taxes, fees and royalties. The mining sector has allocated P379 billion for the implementation of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program as of December 2020,” the MGB said.

It said mining and quarrying activities created 184,000 jobs while a total of P25.71 billion was committed to the social development management program, which is used to improve the living conditions of the host and nearby communities in mining areas.

It added that 36.87 million seedlings have also been planted across 28,717.37 hectares of land under the mining forest program as of December.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the tally is “an indication of how massive the contribution of the mining industry is to our economy. Amidst the pandemic… the mining industry strived and did its part.  We are happy to know that this has been the outcome of the mining operations over the past year,” Mr. Cimatu said.  

Mr. Cimatu said the Environment department will monitor the operations of mining companies and improve the implementation of programs related to safety and environmental and social development initiatives.

Asked to comment, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Chairman Gerard H. Brimo said in a mobile phone message that the group believes that responsible minerals development, when allowed to flourish, can contribute positively to the economic recovery.

Mr. Brimo said the mining sector can help in increasing government revenue and job generation while reducing poverty.

On April 14, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order No. 130 that lifted the ban on new mineral agreements.

The order is expected to bring in P21 billion in revenue for the National Government, with 100 mining projects in the pipeline after the lifting of the moratorium.

“The recent policy pronouncements of the government, particularly the lifting of the moratorium on new mining agreements and its implementing rules and regulations are indeed most welcome developments. We look forward to further policy pronouncements that will help maximize the Philippine mining industry’s growth potential and attract more domestic and foreign investment,” Mr. Brimo said.

The MGB has reported that the value of metallic mineral production for the first quarter of 2021 improved 14.11% to P28.91 million due to higher metal prices.

Nickel ore and other nickel by-products accounted for 47.12% or P13.62 billion of the total, followed by gold at 40.49% or P11.71 billion, copper 11.51% or P3.33 billion, and the combination of silver, chromite, and iron ore less than 1% or P254.92 million. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave