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January 27, 2022

Weekly data: Copper, cobalt, and silver production set to increase in the Philippines after open-pit ban lifted

With the Philippines lifting a four-year ban on new open-pit mining, there are 21 projects in the pipeline that could increase the production of several commodities in 2025.

By Isabeau van Halm

At the end of December 2021, the Philippines Government ended its open-pit mining ban. Gina Lopez, the then environment secretary, imposed the ban in 2017 as part of a crackdown on mining due to the negative effects of the industry on the environment. With the lifting of the ban, the Duterte administration hopes to revive the mining industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic.

Data from GlobalData shows that the ban caused a temporary stagnation of the production of commodities through open-pit mining. No new mining projects started operations after 2017, as the ban put the development of some big mining projects on hold, such as the King-King project in the south of the Philippines.

The Philippines Government wants to support the development of the delayed projects, as well as encouraging new mining projects and stimulating the economy.

A total of 21 open-pit mining projects are currently in the pipeline, according to data from GlobalData. The forecast of the commodity production of those projects shows that they could contribute a big proportion of the total predicted production for 2025.

No copper, cobalt, or silver is forecasted to be produced by currently operational mines. However, upcoming projects that are now allowed to progress under the lifting of the ban could respectively produce 78.2 thousand tonnes, 1.1 thousand tonnes, and 5,066 thousand ounces of the commodities.

The Philippines has a high mineral potential. The country has large copper and gold deposits and is the biggest supplier of nickel ore to China. Yet the government estimates that 95% of its mineral reserves are untapped. It is likely hoped that the new pipeline of projects will ameliorate this.

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