Miners welcome foreign investment unlocked by RCEP

By Sheldeen Joy Talavera

MINERS said they welcome any foreign investment that may be encouraged by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal.

“Any opportunity that would encourage and attract investment to the mining industry is most welcome,” Rocky G. Dimaculangan, vice-president for Communications of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, told BusinessWorld in a Viber message.

He added that such investment will help develop capital-intensive metals mining projects.

“We can also benefit from any technological improvements and best mining practices that foreign investment can bring,” he said.

The association also looks forward to the “liberalization of trade services,” which will broaden the market for mining professionals and suppliers.

Dante R. Bravo, president and chief operating officer of Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc., said that the agreement has the potential to expand trade significantly among participating countries.

“The entry of more foreign mining companies in the Philippines will be good as this would accelerate the exploration and development of our mining potential, enhance sharing of best practices, and develop or facilitate transfer of technology to optimize use of our resources,” he said in a text message.

Francis Joseph G. Ballesteros, head of Public and Regulatory Affairs of Philex Mining Corp., said: “I don’t think the RCEP will have a direct impact on the mining industry, but any effort to expand global market access and opportunities for Philippine exports, even to increase investments in the country, should be welcome.”

Jose Bayani D. Baylon, senior vice-president and chief sustainability officer of Nickel Asia Corp., downplayed the trade deal’s impact because mining is not an “open market” because companies are locked into long-term contracts with their customers.

“Foreign mining interests have been coming and going and some stay and some don’t. (I am) not so sure the RCEP will change that,” he said.