After almost three years of research and development in the rehabilitation of mining areas and sustainable extraction of critical minerals and rare earth elements, the Philippine General Minerals Project, Inc. (PGMPI), is finally ready to respond to the challenge.
An aspiring leader and pioneer in the strategic minerals industry in the Philippines, PGMPI is thrilled to announce its successful and highly productive meetings with key government officials following President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr’s pronouncement during the 42nd ASEAN Summit on May 10, 2023, in Indonesia, that the Philippines will be a producer of critical metals and minerals, and not just an exporter of iron ore.
As the industrialized nations grapple for control of the supply and demand of critical minerals and resources necessary for space and defense technology, the EV industry, nuclear power, and telecommunications, President Marcos’ announcement is certainly well timed. The Philippines sits on vast natural resources, and more than 3,000 mining operations in the country have left millions of tons of waste materials which, incidentally, PGMPI’s R&D, as well as other companies around the world, have confirmed to contain many of these heavily contested materials.
Founded by Lt. General Antonio G. Parlade, Jr., former Southern Luzon Commander, along with a group of close associates, PGMPI initially conducted extensive research to delve into the dynamics of the trade war between the United States and China, particularly regarding rare earth materials and precious metals. The research “unearthed” a wealth of information on the presence of these critical minerals in waste tailings, both on the surface and underground, as well as millions of tons of ore being shipped out of the country, many of them finding their way in the reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea. With clear guidance from the then National Security Adviser, Secretary Hermogenes C Esperon Jr, and former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, PGMPI meticulously explored methods of harnessing these minerals without causing further harm to the environment.
Supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, PGMPI research involved onshore and underwater surveillance of black sand materials in Cagayan and Albay, ores and tailings from Kalinga to Tawi-Tawi, and even from disaster-ridden mining sites such as Marcopper in Marinduque and Apex Mining in Davao de Oro, where vast quantities of tailings remain stagnant in artificial lakes and ponds, and continue to pose potential risks to low-lying villages and necessitates attention from the Office of Civil Defense and the Department of National Defense (DND).
Over in South Korea, last February 2023, President Yoon expressed their intention to source critical mineral requirements from the Philippines and Indonesia, aiming to reduce their reliance on China by at least 50%. More recently, during the G7 meeting in Hiroshima, President Yoon again reaffirmed the importance of procuring these materials from the Philippines, Indonesia, and other reliable sources. These metals are of utmost significance to South Korea’s highly industrialized sectors, including prominent manufacturing giants such as Samsung, Hyundai, and POSCO, thus highlighting the urgency of the Philippine government’s response on the matter.
As a result of this, a group of Korean investors visited Manila last April 19, 2023, and called on the Secretary of DTI, Sec Alfredo Pascual Jr, and BOI Vice Chairman Dr. Rodolfo Severino with officials of PGMPI. They also met with DBP Director Maria Lourdes A. Arcenas and President and CEO Michael O. de Jesus. During those meetings, the group explored possibilities that Korean investors can participate in PGMPI’s Project in order to comply with the Korean government’s requirements for these metals.
Collaborative meeting with Korean Investors and DBP Director Maria Lourdes A. Arcenas
Fostering Synergies: DTI, PGMPI, and Korean Investors Unite for Economic and Environmental Collaboration
Under discussion with South Korean investor Busan Equity Partners (BEP), Managing Director Mr. YS Lee), a consortium of South Korea’s institutional investors, PGMPI is actively exploring opportunities for collaboration and partnership. Recognizing the significance of the Philippine mining industry in meeting critical mineral requirements, these investors visited Manila in April 2023 and held fruitful discussions with key officials from PGMPI, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Board of Investments (BOI), and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
PGMPI meeting with DTI Usec Rodolfo BOI Officials with Former NSA Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and Korean representative.
The meetings focused on exploring possibilities for Korean investors to participate in PGMPI’s project, aligning with the Korean government’s requirements for these strategic metals. The DTI and BOI expressed optimism about the project and pledged to coordinate with counterparts for the Philippines – South Korea Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation (PH-ROK JCTEC) with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE) to facilitate future collaborations with PGMPI. These discussions mark an important step towards a potential Private-Public-Partnership, forging strong ties between PGMPI and South Korea’s industrialized sectors in pursuit of mutual economic growth and stability.