DENR  REPORTS  $1.9-BILLION  MINING  INVESTMENTS

MANILA, May 16, 2005
 (STAR) By Katherine Adraneda - Great strides have been made in the mining industry during the past six months, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said in a report.

Foreign mining companies have pledged investments worth $1.9 billion, while the groundwork has begun for three mining projects worth $229 million.

The investments are the highlight of a report released by Secretary Michael Defensor on his first six months as head of the DENR.

"The DENR has succeeded in inviting foreign mining companies to invest in the country," he said.

Companies that attended the International Mining Investment Conference in Manila last February committed $300 million in investments via 29 memoranda of understanding and letters of intent.

But an earlier mining road show in China accounted for the bulk of investments in the pipeline, $1.6 billion.

Construction has begun for three projects, namely, the $180-million Palawan Nickel Project of the Coral Bay Mining Corp., the $42 million Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project of Lafayette Phils. in Albay, and the $7-million Canatuan Gold Expansion Project of TVI Resources Development Phils. in Zamboanga del Norte.

The projects are expected to employ some 2,000 workers during their construction and 1,000 during their commercial operation.

Defensor sees more investment opportunities for the country following its participation in two mining conferences, the Convention of Prospectors and Developers Association in Canada and the Asia Mining Congress in Singapore.

During the period covered by the report, the DENR issued 28 and canceled 84 mining permits. Surveys to determine the presence of mineral deposits were also conducted in Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Camarines Sur and Surigao del Norte.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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