CEBU, Philippines - The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is now working on a blueprint to attract mineral processing companies in the Philippines to minimize the country's exportation of raw materials.
"We are inviting industries, to convert raw minerals into high value finished products," said PEZA director general Charito Plaza.
Plaza said the country has a strong potential to develop mineral processing hubs because of the presence of rich mineral reserves. This move she added could boost not only employment generation, but also revenue creation for the Philippines.
What is happening now, she said, is the Philippines' export raw minerals and have them processed in other countries, and finished products are sold in the Philippines as imported goods, and very expensive.
Establishing mineral processing ecozones would also put a stop on environmental abuse such as the exportation of raw minerals including its soil by some mining companies operating in Mindanao.
The Philippines is the fifth most mineral-rich country in the world. It is abundance with gold, nickel, copper, and chromite, and also the home to the largest copper-gold deposit in the world.
In 2015, mineral exports in the Philippines was valued at $2.797.
Based on the record released by Mine and Geosciences Bureau, coper, gold and nickel are the top Philippine mineral exports to major countries like Japan, Australia, Canada and China.
Instead of exporting raw minerals, the Philippines will soon produce finished products made of these minerals to the global market.
The creation of this special economic zone would attract the attention of mineral processing companies from all over the world to locate here.
In Cebu, the Carmen Copper Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation is the largest mining operation in the province.
The company has an operating agreement with Atlas Mining and it has exclusive operating rights over the in situ mineral resources and ore reserves of Carmen, Lutopan and Biga mineral deposits, collectively known as Toledo copper mine covering 1,674 hectares.
Parts of Toledo City, and neighboring its towns have good potential to open up special mineral processing zones. (FREEMAN)