MANILA, Aug 23 (Reuters) – A Philippine lawmaker has revived a proposal to ban exports of unprocessed minerals to spur domestic processing, in a move that may tighten global nickel supply and make it an even tougher business environment for miners in the world’s top producer.
The Philippines has vast but largely untapped mineral resources, limiting the contribution of mining to its economy to less than 1 percent. The sector is now facing a tough regime under the government of firebrand President Rodrigo Duterte who has suspended some miners causing environmental destruction.
Without an industry that will process mineral ore, the Philippines may be better off shutting its mining sector given its modest contribution to the economy and the environmental harm it causes, Congressman Erlpe John Amante said.
“We are trying to refine mining in our country. We are trying to make mining more relevant,” Amante told Reuters in his office in Quezon City, north of the capital Manila.
Amante is hoping to tap into Duterte’s push for responsible mining that has led to the suspension of 10 miners so far, eight of them nickel producers.
“What we’re fighting for here is to maximise the benefit for our country and our people,” said Amante. “If that cannot be done then we might as well stop mining.”
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