New Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte may make headlines because of his outspoken (and often controversial) ways, but his approach to mining will have a substantial impact on foreign firms — including several Canadian companies.
Duterte, who is known for his tough stance on crime and disregard for due process, said after winning the country’s presidential election in May that mining companies in the Philippines need to “shape up”. He went on to say he prefers mining assets to be owned by locals, rather than foreign companies.
That was followed by the naming of committed environmentalist Regina Lopez to head the country’s natural resources department, which set off uncertainty for foreign firms operating in the Philippines. One industry official told Reuters the sector is “shell shocked” by Lopez’s appointment.
For their parts, the 10 listed Canadian mining companies operating in the Philippines said they are not concerned, according to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), a leading industry group.
“PDAC supports responsible mineral exploration and mining everywhere in the world, including the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia,” said PDAC executive director Andrew Cheatle in a statement. “Each (of the 10 Canadian firms) is expected to observe the highest environmental and social responsibility standards. … We fully support responsible exploration and improved regulatory processes in the Philippines.”
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