Philippines Eyeing Silver Extraction Liberalization?
Is the Philippines looking to hasten its pace down the path of its own resource extraction by foreign interests? With developers being implored to develop regions by silver mines, the 7th most populated Asian country is planning ahead in its traditional fashion – but, then again, so are the foreign interests looking to pull the resources out of the country for hoards and the open market…
Because other countries in the region are updating their infrastructure in anticipation of a “ballooning” silver market, Philippine developers have been implored by The Retirement and Healthcare Coalition (RHC) to start erecting full-fledged retirement villages and not the typical “sleeping quarters.”
“There is no fully operational, integrated senior community with, say, restaurants, medical facilities, activities like yoga. The alternative for developers is to add health service projects and activities to existing developments,” a RHC representative bemoaned.
The Philippines has seen the ravages of an economy based on extraction. Rivers streaked only brown cut through farmland and jungle brush as a muck struggling to sea. On the slope, about 600 families reside on its steep slope, eking out a living by half-grams of gold.
Beneath them, there are 962 million tons of precious metals. The American company, St. Augustine Gold & Copper has purchased rights to the mountain on which the aforementioned individuals work and live, as well as the mountains around.
Mining for the Philippines has brought great wealth to the country’s elite, and so the government supports transnational movements towards mining. Recently, corporate mining permits have multiplied, and new restrictions have stripped small-scale miners of the same freedoms as big business miners. But, Filipinos are organizing in favor of new mining laws and more of the profit.
The Philippines are just one country of many who, in the face of worsening living standards based on the extraction of minerals and precious metals that are one of the few modern long-term secular bull markets, are re-analyzing their relationship with both their own resources and the transnational’s tasked with mining them.
Indonesia, just this year, began imposing a 20% tax on mineral exports as well as a limit in the shipment of raw materials. The Philippines boasts an abundance of precious materials that could be mined, such as mineral wealth in the neighborhood of $840 billion), as well as some of the largest untapped gold, silver and copper in its region.
Historically, it has been tough to mine. The unfriendly state of Mindanao is home to over a third of the country’s gold, and mining operations are at risk of attacks and extortion of competing mafias. Companies in the region have lost millions of dollars’ worth of equipment to vandalism and arson. The government, on the other hand, has offered low taxes, state-funded security and low accountability to bring in foreign investors.
Big mining and the government, to be sure, are both open to extraction, and mainstream analysts believe it could “fuel the economic growth the country needs.” Environmentalists, local leaders and the established Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines are opposed to large-scale mineral and metals extraction. They list environmental concerns, and the displacement of indigenous tribes as well as local industry that has heretofore carried a bulk of the tax burden. ”Bureaucratic inefficiencies” hamper the system through-and-through like anywhere else.