The Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) has signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the operationalization of a P280-million US-funded technical assistance to help establish the Philippines’ positioning as a major global value chain player in the clean energy sector by maximizing the country’s mineral potential and increasing value addition through mineral processing.
The technical assistance under the Partnership for Sustainable Development and Investment in Mineral Extraction and Processing is spearheaded by the University of the Philippines Public Administration Foundation (UPPAF).
PNIA signed the agreement at the US Ambassador’s Residence in Baguio City on Thursday, Nov. 16, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Ernesto V. Perez, officials from the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Finance (DOF), Dr. Enrico Basilio, Chief of Party of USAID’s Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development (RESPOND) Project, and the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP).
At the signing ceremony, PNIA Chairman Antonio L. Co expressed the nickel industry association’s gratitude for becoming a partner and collaborator in accelerating the development and advancement of the Philippines’ critical minerals sector. Co said the partnership will also enhance consultation mechanisms between the government and the private sector.
“The partnership is a significant boost to PNIA’s industry promotion and development efforts, aiming to enhance the competitiveness of the nickel industry and attract investors by improving ease of doing business and ensuring a predictable regulatory environment,” he said.
PNIA, a non-stock non-profit association established in 2012, is the single voice of the industry in championing and positioning the nickel development sector as a globally competitive and responsible driver of inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the Philippines.
Co said that the MOU signing is a significant follow-through to the high-level meetings and roundtable sessions with the DENR, DTI, DOF, and USAID this year. He also cited the UPPAF-USAID for involving ARTA in the partnership, as their mandate and expertise can significantly improve governance and processes in the mining sector.
PNIA members, representing almost 50 percent of the nickel mining industry, are committed and ready to contribute their technical expertise, best practices, and industry experience.
“PNIA has a wealth of information and experience that can help inform discussions on how to advance policy, governance, and regulatory reforms for the nickel mining industry in ways that will unlock economic potential while upholding responsible mining and inclusive and sustainable development for mining communities,” said Co.
Co highlighted that the outcome of this technical assistance is critical for the Philippines to stand out in Southeast Asia, as investors view the region as the emerging green industry hub of the world due to its cost advantages.
“Aside from Indonesia, the Philippines is the only other country in Southeast Asia with a large untapped nickel supply. This is why the technical assistance came at the right time when we need to accelerate industry development efforts to attract investors and convince them of the viability of the Philippines as a minerals processing and green technology manufacturing destination,” said Co.
In his speech during the signing ceremony, DOF Undersecretary for Fiscal Policy and Monitoring Karlo Fermin S. Adriano stressed that critical minerals like nickel have untapped potential that can boost national economic development.
“We’re exporting around $1 billion dollars of nickel and if we actually do some processing, we estimated that you can increase that value to around $15 to 20 billion dollars, which is 15% to 20% more,” said Undersecretary Adriano.
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