With abundant reserves of nickel, copper, silver and chromite estimated to value nearly USD1 trillion, the Philippines should have been top of the list for mining investment for many decades. However, the sector has long been mired by a series of investment and operational barriers that have consistently undermined the country’s reputation as a top mining destination. From 2009 onwards, the percentage contribution of mining to the Philippines’ GDP has dropped every year.
In mid-2016, President Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated and the mining industry has already experienced a tumultuous eight months. This month, the government announced that it will be ordering the closure of 50% of the country’s operational mines; already foreign investors have vowed to fight the decision. Political risks remain elevated, as do long-standing operational challenges such as gaps in infrastructure, extreme weather and security risks. Those investors remaining in the Philippines have challenging times ahead. President Duterte has said in the past that the Philippines could survive without a mining industry – that may now well be the reality.
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