The Philippine administration is now implementing procedures to privatize mining assets held by the government and restore their operations—a move believed to help restart the country’s economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the emailed statement from the Department of Finance (DOF)  last Sunday, the government has identified at least five mining assets located in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III states, "We are forming an interagency team to study ways on how we can clear the path for these assets to be privatized and revive their operations,"

 The interagency team will be composed of the DOF, its attached agency the Privatization and Management Office (PMO), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and the Office of the Solicitor General.

The mining assets identified by PMO include the following: the copper-gold project of the Maricalum Mining Corp. in Negros Occidental, the nickel mines of the Nonoc Mining and Industrial Corp. in Surigao del Norte, and the gold- and copper-rich North Davao Mining Property in Davao del Norte.

"Maricalum Mining, Nonoc Mining, and North Davao Mining were once successful mining companies that have failed to settle their debts with government financial institutions, leading to their foreclosure and transfer of their assets and shares of stocks to the national government," DOF explains. They continue, "The government then auctioned off the shares of these mining firms, but the firms with the highest bid failed to fulfill their obligations, which resulted in decades of litigation that have left these mining assets idle,”

Secretary Dominguez affirms the administration will push for the revival of the mining industry to spur economic growth.



By: Mineral Economics, Information and Publication Division