Live Blog

2012 Mining Conference in Philippines

  • Social media news RAPPLER is live blogging the 2nd day of the 2012 Mining Conference this Wednesday, September 19.

    Covering it are :
    Lala Rimando, Katherine Visconti, Leilani Chavez, Devon Wong
  • Rappler has a special page for mining-related issues. Check our microsite here:

    WhyMining: Engage, discuss, take a stand


    This online site is home to news reports, analysis, features on various Philippine mining industry issues -- ranging from policy, economics, governance, society, and peace and order. It also hosts thought leader pieces, as well as first hand accounts of groups that are passionately against or supportive of this extractive industry.

    Rappler also conducts regular #WhyMining Conversations on social media. These are opportunities for various individuals all over the world to engage and take a stand on issues at hand. On Twitter, the hashtag is #WhyMining.
  • For background on the recent mining policy under the Aquino government, check these reports:

    1. Executive Order No. 79 - released on July 9, 2012 is the policy outlining how the Aquino government wants the mining industry to be governed

    2. Impementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of E.O 79 - released on September 11, 2012, this provides more details -- and new issues -- on the Aquino government's mining policy.

    Most of the recent sentiments of both pro- and anti-mining have been due to the consultation (or lack of it, according to industry players) leading to, and the impact of, these policy pronouncements.
  • The industry players generally feel they were not consulted enough while the government and other officials were crafting these policies that they say materially impact their current and future plans.

    Key issues involve the following:

    1. No-new-contract scheme imposed by EO 79 "puts the industry at a standstill" and creates uncertainties.
    This scheme stays until lawmakers are able to pass a new legislative measure that provides the government a better share in the mining revenues.
    This creates uncertainties since the lawmakers that will craft it have a few more months ahead and are more focused on other bills as well as the upcoming 2013 elections.

    2. No-go areas, or parts of the country that are banned for any mining activities. Defining and identifying these areas have been contentious during the crafting of the IRR since the industry players say this is not in the Mining Act. Environmental groups have stressed this is part of efforts to ensure that the natural resources of an area are taken cared of.
  • On September 18, the first day of the 3-day Mining Conference at Sofitel Hotel, HOUSE SPEAKER SONNY BELMONTE was the keynote speaker.

    While he stresses the importance of the industry on the economy, especially in far-flung areas, he admitted that the upcoming 2013 elections make passing the mining bill "difficult."

    This already set the tone of the conference. The rest of the day on Tuesday, conference attendees were sad -- the others angry -- about the fate the industry now faces.
  • At the exhibit room, this is the booth of Benguet Corp., the listed mining firm led by Benjamin Romualdez, the president of the industry chamber.

  • A lot of foreigners at the conference, most of them investors, or working as managers or representatives of the foreign owners of the mines. Australians, Canadians, and Chinese are some of the key foreign investors in Philippine mining.

  • Some of the scenes at the Mining Conference. This is at the entrance where attendees can check the schedules and venues of the parallel events.

  • On Wednesday, September 19, the conference will feature the following:


    Plenary Session 1: Formal Opening of Mining Philippines 2011 Conference

    09:05 Welcome Remarks: Mr. BENJAMIN PHILIP G. ROMUALDEZ, President, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines; President and CEO, Benguet Corporation

    09:15 Message: HON. PAQUITO N. OCHOA JR., Executive Secretary, Office of the President

    09:30 Keynote Address: VICE PRESIDENT JEJOMAR C. BINAY


    Coffee/Tea Break

    Plenary Session 2: Developments and Prospects in Gold

    Session Chairman: Mr. John Miller
    Editor, The Asia Miner

    10:00 – 10:20 Global Gold Market Outlook
    Mr. Kevin Li
    Chief Representative
    Zijin Mining Philippines

    10: 20 – 10:40 Financing Mining Projects in Emerging Economies
    Mr. Charles Nelson
    Murdock Capital, New York

    11: 00 – 11:20 An Emerging Gold Producer, Philsaga Mining Corporation
    Mr. Joel D. Muyco
    Philsaga Mining Corporation


    11:20 – 11:40 Pursuing Oceana Gold Project in Nueva Vizcaya
    Mr. Joey Leviste
    Chairman, Oceana Gold Philippines

    11:40 – 12:00 A Continuing Growth with a Strong Foundation: Benguet Corporation
    Beyond 100
    Mr. Renato A. Claravall
    Senior Vice President-Chief Finance Officer, Benguet Corporation

    12:00 – 12:20 Panel Discussion/Q & A

    Discussants: Mr. Jose Ernesto Villaluna – Director, Philex Mining Corp.
    Mr. Gerard H. Brimo - President, Nickel Asia Corp.

    12:20 – 14:00 Luncheon Speaker (TBA)

    Plenary Session 3 : Mining in a Changing Landscape


    Session Chairman : Mr. John Ridsdel
    SVP- COO, TVI Resource Development Philippines

    14:00 - 14:20. Mining Perspective in a Global Changing Landscape
    Mr. Mickey Thompson
    Senior Research Officer
    IntierraRMG

    14:20 – 14:40 Marketing the Furture and Prospects of the Mining Industry
    Atty. Michael Toledo
    SVP for Corporate Affairs
    Philex Mining Corporation

    14:40 – 15:00 Water Stewardship in Mining Areas
    Dr. Rolando Cuano
    President, BMP Environment & Community Care, Inc.

    15:00 – 15:30 Mining CSR – A Catalyst in Provincial Development
    Mr. Rapa Lopa
    President, Philippine Business for Social Progress

    .
    15:30 – 16:00 Panel Discussion/ Q and A


    Discussants: Mr. Marcelo A. Bolano
    Senior Vice President, Engineering and Research, Benguet Corporation
    Atty. Leo G. Dominguez
    Resource Advisors People Solutions Philippines, Inc


    Plenary Session 4: Governance Issues and Concerns

    Session Chairman: Atty. Patricia Bunye
    Senior Partner, CVC Law

    16:00 – 16:20 Geohazard Mapping and Climate Change Adaptation
    Dr. Elmer Billedo
    Asst. Director, Mines & Geosciences Bureau, DENR

    16:20 – 16:50 Transparency and Poverty Reduction Initiative
    Mr. Renaud Meyer
    UNDP Country Director

    16:50 – 17:10 Fundamental Issues Affecting Environmental Rules of Procedure
    Atty. Emmanuel M. Lombos
    Senior Partner, Sycip Salazar Hernandez Law Offices

    17:10 – 17:30 Mining Taxation Policy Reforms
    Mr. Shanaka Jayanath Peiris
    IMF Resident Representative

    17:30 –18:00 Panel Discussion/Q & A

    Discussants Atty. Marilyn V. Aquino
    Assistant Director, First Pacific Company Ltd.
    Atty. Roderick Salazar
    Managing Partner, Fortun Narvasa & Salazar Law Offices

    18:00—20:00 Networking Cocktail Reception
  • Packed house for the second day of the conference.

    Benjamin Romualdez, President of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and CEO of Benguet Corporation, is expected to speak soon.

  • Guest of Honor Vice President Jejomar Binay just arrived and everyone is standing at attention for the national anthem.

  • Romualdez cites the numerous challenges facing the mining industry and says the country is not likely to feel the full potential of the mining investments that it was expecting.

    Says he is shocked with section 9 of the AO which shortens mining contracts to a short 25 years and is "patently illegal."

    He tells VP Binay, We request that the straight path of President Aquino be applied to all.

  • VP Binay acknowledges the challenge of the time for mining and that those at either side of the debate have taken staunch positions. But he says everyone should be united by their commitment to responsible mining.

  • Binay: We have to look at how mining can raise the economic line of those Filipinos at the bottom.
  • Binay: Let social justice shape the future of Philippine mining.
  • Binay cites economic gains of the Philippines. He says, the country has always had the potential to unleash wealth through mineral extraction. The Philippines is 2nd in gold reserves globally. But ghosts of mismanagement from the past have held back the country. The industry needs to be redefined.

  • The Runruno gold project is situated in Central Luzon and has an approved Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).
  • Mining Chamber officials Philip Romualdez, Artemio Disini and Joey Leviste accompany Vice President Jejomar Binay to his car after his speech. Overheard Romualdez telling Binay, " Kayo na po bahala kay (Environment Secretary Ramon) Paje."

  • Next topic: Financing mining in emerging economies from Charles Nelson from Murdock Capital, New York.
  • According to Nelson, there is huge international interest in the Philippine mining sector but there is little knowledge on the industry.
  • Nelson is giving a rundown of the types of risks in mining investments. He says the Philippines has a combination of common and civil law in terms of civil system risk.
  • Nelson: There is also the title risk, where the right in minerals invested in the central government and all that can be obtained is a license to mine the said mineral.
  • Nelson: Insurance is the essential part of the package. Many emerging markets require the primary insurance be provided by a local insurance company. This performance and credit risk issues.
  • Third risk: liquidity. Emerging markets does not provide substantial liquidity for the larger institutional investor. Possible solutions: establishment of a dual listing for the stock. Possible dual listings could be in London, Canada.
  • Nelson: The Philippines economy is growing. There is corruption but there are administration policies to mitigate this. The country has become friendlier to foreign investors.
  • Nelson: Investing in an emerging market is similar to investing in any other market. In the Philippines, language barrier is not a problem here.
  • Joel Muyco of Philsaga Mining Corp is up next. He will be discussing Philsaga Mining Corp as an emerging gold producer.
  • In 2000, Philsaga has taken over a mine which started in the 1980s. The location: Bunawan, Agusan del Sur.
  • Philsaga uses the drift mining method, which is conventional to the geography of the place. They have 5 surface shafts, 6 internal shafts, and 6 underground levels.
  • @rapplerdotcom #WhyMining Responsible mining (they consider the environment and the future), yes. Mining where only the owners profit, NO
  • #WhyMining im for responsible mining. it creates more jobs
  • Philsaga production: 819 tonnes per day and an average grade of 2 grams per ton.
  • Muyco: Co-O mine is ideally located in the mineralized area. We are only at the tip of the iceberg. There are many areas that we are still exploring right now.
  • Muyco: One day we will maintain our status as the largest gold-producing site in Mindanao with a social conscience.
  • We are now heading to our next speaker: Jose Leviste Jr of Oceana Gold, who will discuss the company's gold project in Nueva Vizcaya.
  • Leviste: Oceana Gold will be the first company to operate on an FTAA with no Filipino partner in the country. The site will be in Isabela, the hometown of VP Binay.
  • Brennan Lang took the reins and is now discussing the ins and outs of the project.
  • Lang: We are slated to produce 1,000 ounces a year and is looking at an expansion to 150,000 ounces a year. We're also looking at other partners in Southeast Asia aside from the Philippines.
  • Lang: Half of the revenue will be from copper and half will be from gold. Using both open pit and underground mine. The open pit mine already started and will run until 2026. Underground operations will start in 4 years, from 2021-2028. 1.7 million ounces of reserves. 229 tonnes of copper.
  • Lang: There are 1,700 employees on site, 98% of which are Filipinos. The construction of the site is 85% complete.
  • Lang: Benefits include taxes and royalties (US$350), capital investment (US$350-400million), operations and expenditures (US$1.5 billion). Majority will be on goods and services purchased in the Philippines.
  • Didipio will bring significant stimulus to the Isabela provinces through employment, educational and training opportunities for locals
  • Lang: Social and Development Management Plan will amount to US$1.5 million per year. The people of the region will receive the prime benefits, especially the people of Didipio.
  • Didipio to invest in social development via transportation infrastructure and an elementary school
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