MANILA, Philippines — The country’s mining industry maintained its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) of 0.5 percent in the first quarter despite a decline in value, data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) showed.

Based on the latest figures from the MGB, the gross value added in mining amounted to P22.5 billion during the period, down 5.6 percent from last year.

In contrast, the metallic mineral production value of gold, nickel ore, mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide, scandium oxalate, chromite, and iron was estimated at P28.9 billion, up 17 percent from the previous year.

The MGB data also showed that total exports of minerals and mineral products reached $1.2 billion or 6.9 percent of the country’s total exports.

The minerals industry contributed about P355 million in national and local taxes, fees and royalties.

In a statement, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu emphasized the economic contribution of the mining industry.

“Amidst the pandemic that we are experiencing, the mining industry strived and did its part. We are happy to know that this has been the outcome of the mining operations in the country over the past year,” Cimatu said, citing the mining industry’s P102.3 billion GDP contribution in 2020.

The figure, however, is five percent lower than the P107.4 billion GDP contribution of the mining sector in 2019.

The DENR-MGB also reported that the mining sector has allocated P379 billion for the implementation of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program as of December 2020.

Meanwhile, the DENR reported mining and quarrying activities generated 184,000 jobs and around P25.71 billion was committed for the Social Development Management Program (SDMP) in 2020.

It said a total of 36.87 million seedlings have also been planted in 28,717.37 hectares of land for the Mining Forest Program as of December last year.

“Contrary to what others are saying, this is an indication of how massive the contribution of the mining industry is to our economy,”Cimatu said.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, MGB director Wilfredo Moncano instructed regional offices to allow mining companies to realign their unutilized SDMP funds to support the affected impact and non-impact communities.

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star ) – July 1, 2021 – 12:00am