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MANILA, Philippines – If only the Philippines can tap all of its vast gold resources and reserves, poverty would be completely eradicated, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).
Using 2011 world market prices, the Philippines gold reserves can amount to as much as P7.36 trillion or 76% of the P9.73 trillion-worth Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2011, NSCB Secretary General Romulo A. Virola said in his the latest blog, Statistically Speaking.
“This is also equal to more than 65.1 times the income gap of P113.1 billion for 2011, the amount needed to completely eradicate poverty in the country,” he highlighted.
Among the metals, gold is the top foreign exchange earner throughout the period, having posted double-digit growths in dollar terms since 2005 and accounting for an average of 71.2% of total metallic exports for the period 1998-2010, Virola said.
He attributed this to the continuing surge in world market prices. Gold generated an unprecedented earning of $1,674.1 billion, or P73.45 trillion, in 2010.
“The country’s huge reserves of gold coupled with the current high prices of the metal in the world market offer fresh and promising prospects to reduce poverty in the country,” Virola said.
However, Virola also noted that these potentials are far from the current realities.
Potential vs reality
Mining and Quarrying sector is considered the least contributor to economic growth, noted the NSCB chief, echoing a previous announcement of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Among the economic sectors or industries, Mining and quarrying contributed the least to the total economy after Forestry, averaging only about 0.9% to total GDP at constant prices during the period 1998-2010, Virola wrote.
Manufacturing and Trade contributed the most, with an average share of 23.5% and 16.2%, respectively.
Mining and quarrying also absorbs a fraction of the Philippines’ labor force.
The sector contributes an average of 0.4% to total employment in the country, generating an average annual employment of 130,000 from 1998 to 2010.
“Not contributing much really, but greater than the contribution of the EGW (electricity, gas and water),” the NSCB said.
Nonetheless, the NSCB said that the employment share of mining and quarrying to total employment has been increasing since 2008.
The NSCB also said that while mining and quarrying contributes the least to the domestic economy, it is a major source of foreign exchange earnings, which the country needs.
Sources and producers
Virola said the biggest reserves of gold are
- Region 1, with 2,189 billion metric tons (MT) of potential gold reserves, accounting for 44.4% of the country’s total of 4.914 billion MT
- Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR), with 982.7 billion MT or 20% of the total
- Region 11, with 893 billion MT or 18.2%
- Region 6, with 338.4 billion MT or 6.9%
- Region 13, with 330.4 billion MT or 6.7%
Meantime, the highest quality of gold reserves are in
- Region 8, hitting an average grade of 11.4 gram Au/MT
- Region 10, with 5.28 Au gram/MT
- CAR, with 3.31 Au gram/MT
- Region 6 with 2.53 Au gram/MT
As of 2010, there were 10 companies in the country that produced gold. Six of them are primary producers,
The 6 primary producers, or those that produce gold as the main product, are
- Apex Mining Company, Inc. (APEX Maco Operation), in Compostela Valley
- Benguet Corporation (Acupan Contract Mining Project), in Itogon Benguet
- Johson Gold Mining Corporation (Paracale Gold Project) in Camarines Norte
- Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, Inc. (Victoria Gold Project and Teresa Gold Project), in Mankayan Benguet
- Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corporation (Masbate Gold Project), in Aruruy, Masbate
- Philsaga Mining Corporation (Banahaw Gold Project), in Bunawan Agusan del Sur
The 4 secondary producers — or the companies that produce gold only as a by-product of Copper and Silver that are produced — are:
- Carmen Copper Project (Toledo Copper Project)
- Philex Mining Corporation (Padcal Copper Project)
- Rapu-rapu Processing, Inc. (Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project)
- TVI Resource Development Philippines (Canatuan Mining Project)
Among the gold companies, Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corporation (Masbate Gold Project), Philsaga Mining Corporation (Banahaw Gold Project), and Philex Mining Corporation (Padcal Copper Project) were the top producers of gold in 2010. – Rappler.com
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