Part of Diwalwals 8,100 hectare mining reserve up for bidding

Sep. 22, 2008

DAVAO CITYOliver Butalid, the president of the Philippine Mining Development Corporation (PMDC) announced the upcoming public bidding for the Upper Ulip Paraiso in Diwalwal for large-scale mining investors.

Butalid said the government corporation has set the deadline for the submission of prequalification bidding requirements on October 14 this year. We want to draw as many participants as possible, he said.

He said the bidding is expected to draw large-scale foreign firms because the mining site of Upper Ulip and Paraiso are very attractive mining investments in Diwalwal with the highest value at present.

But Butalid, in a mining summit here, continued to deny earlier reports on the secret deal allegedly signed between the government and the Chinese firm ZTE, a subsidiary of the NBN-ZTE company that figured in the alleged bribery scandal of the present administration.

I have denied it for the nth time, Butalid said. I assure you all our deals are transparent. I dont know why it keeps coming back on the papers.

He said PMDC could not open the area for bidding if the reported MOU with the ZTE were already a done deal.

Upper Ulip and Paraiso is located directly above the gold rush area of Diwalwal, which the government has opened to big mining firms because drilling in the area is already beyond the capacity of small scale miners.

He said that the government offer can be very attractive because the mining firm that will win the bid can already start exploration as soon as it is awarded the contract. They can start as soon as theyre awarded the contract because the environment clearance certificate in the area has already been secured, he said.

Once operation starts, the mining company will pay a royalty of five per cent minimum content fee of US$5.5 million.

We open the bidding to foreign companies and local companies who will qualify, Butalid said, We hope to draw as many bidders as possible because the area at its highest value at present, a very attractive property.

PMDC, a government owned and controlled corporation took over the operation of Diwalwal mines.

Butalid said that the corporation is also talking with tunnel owners outside the gold rush area to make their operations legal. We want them to make their operations more viable, we want them to reduce cost, by convincing them to become contractual partners of PMDC, he said.

Government has declared the 8,100 hectares, which included the gold rush site of Diwalwal, as a mineral reserve, taking over full control of its operation. Government has divided the area into three zones, the 729 hectare gold rush site operated by the small miners, another zone open for large scale investors and the tribal section, where indigenous peoples who formerly owned the land are allowed to operate. (Germelina Lacorte/

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