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Mining seen playing key role in steel industry revival

As regulators make ready the results of an audit of all operating mines in the country, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said the industry was important for the country’s thrust to revitalize the steel sector.

“We see an increased demand for products and services from the metals industry especially in human resource capital development (science and technology sectors), revitalization of the manufacturing industries, and leveling up of annual public spending on infrastructures at 5-percent gross domestic product or greater,” COMP chair Artemio Disini said in a statement.

Disini said that, in fact, the mining industry figured in the Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments Iron and Steel Road Map from 2015 to 2030.

The COMP chief noted that the Philippines ranked fifth next to Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in terms of steel production.

According to Disini, the following key strategies were needed to be pursued to revive the steel industry: Strengthen national policy instruments to develop the minerals and steel industries in the country; revitalize the existing assets of National Steel Corp. in Iligan City; implement the integration of the NSC facility to consider use of indigenous materials; and foster research and investments in downstream processing and value-adding industries.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is expected to announce on Feb. 2 what will happen to 30 mining companies that failed the initial audit conducted last year when Regina Lopez became environment secretary.

Lopez ordered an immediate review of the operations of all 41 metallic mines in the country, “to look into the adequacy and efficiency of environmental protection measures taken by the mining companies, determine gaps in those measures and identify the appropriate penalties for violations of mining and environmental laws.”

Initial results showed that only 11 mining companies “passed” the audit and 30 firms were either ordered suspended or recommended for suspension for failing to meet environmental safety standards.



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