WV mining industry has yet to unlock its full potential

The mining industry in Western Visayas has yet to meet its full potential to make a more significant contribution to economic growth and rural development, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) VI.

Since the closure of two large-scale metallic mines in southern Nergos Occidental early in 2000, there has been no large-scale mining operation in Region 6.

The statistical data from the MGB VI also showed that for the last ten years the approved tenement covers only 1.6% of the region’s total land area or 33,041.2518 hectares.  There has been no change in the figures with 15 Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), one Exploration Permit, two  Industrial Sand and Gravel (ISAG) and currently, 21 Mineral Processing Permit (MPP) issued by MGB VI covering the different provinces of Region 6.

Mining companies have conducted exploration works but none has progressed into development, production, and commercial utilization.

However, this is not true for the quarrying and aggregate (sand and gravel) industry. 

In 2020, the National Economic Development Authority reported that “mining and quarrying, the main contributor to Industry growth, posted a double-digit growth of 23.5 percent.”  The demand for construction aggregate has seen an increase in the past years.  Production and utilization of coal is lumped as well in the mining and quarrying sector.

In 2020, the Gross output from non-metallic minerals is P788.99 million.   On the other hand, MGB VI has noted a decrease in the collection of occupational fees in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Only Ph. 438,810.00 was collected as compared with PhP954, 521.25 in 2019.  Occupational fees are paid directly to the local government unit where the mining project is situated.

In meeting its social equity and development program, MGB VI OIC Regional Director Raul Laput said the industry has committed P19.542 for its Social Development and Management Program. This includes the P6.5 million provided by permit holders in Region 6 for cash and food assistance to communities to help them meet their economic needs and recovery from the effects of the pandemic. 

Laput said companies committed P25.332 million for their Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation programs. (PIA6- Iloilo)