Philippines rebukes critics for glossing over mining’s benefits

Jun. 25, 2007

MANILA — Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye rebuked on Sunday critics of the mining industry for conveniently glossing over the benefits that the country derives from the mining sector.

In his weekly column, The View From the Palace that comes out tomorrow (Monday), Bunye reminded critics of the mining industry that since the government has undertaken measures to revitalize the sector, mining projects now in various stages of development are expected to generate $6 billion foreign direct investments, $6.7 billion foreign exchange and 200,000 direct and indirect employment over the next six years.

While critics of mining “spout motherhood statements about the alleged dangers and disadvantages from mining, they cannot deny that many of the conveniences of modern life would not be possible without mining,” he said.

Signed into law in 1995, the Philippine Mining Act was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in 2004.

Bunye said that as of this year, 24 priority mining projects are being developed by such international investors as Japans Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Canadas Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Inc., Chinas Jinchuan, CITIC and Jilin Nickel.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has clearly defined the parameters governing the operation of mining projects in the country, Bunye said. “We welcome investors in mining who recognize that they should be good stewards of the environment, that that they should take care of the local communities and be model employers as well,” he added.

“Many of the conveniences of modern life would not be possible without mining. After all, anything that cannot be grown has to be mined,” said Bunye, citing the simple pencil as an example.

The pencils clay-mixed graphite is mined. And so its eraser whose rubber is reinforced with sulfur, calcium and barium.

Also, the pencils metal band is made of aluminum or brass, which is made from copper and zinc, while the paint used to color the wood, and the lacquer used to make it shine, are both made from a combination of minerals and metals, Bunye said.

He also cited coins, vehicles, light bulbs, cellular phones, machines and tools — and even toothpaste, which requires silica, limestone, aluminum oxide and various phosphate as among assorted mineral products.

“The list goes on and on. Anyone who opposes mining, therefore, should be prepared to forego all of the above, and anything else that could not be manufactured, operated or used without mining,” Bunye stressed.

Yet, it is sad to note that “some mining projects have run into a blanket and stiff opposition from all sorts of environmentalist groups before operations could even start,” the Press Secretary said. (OPS)

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