In photo: Barges awaiting the loading of copper (Photo file and collage by THEPHILBIZNEWS)
By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios
Capitalizing on the natural resources and believing in the power and result of collaboration, the Philippines and Indonesia recently held an online Copper Industry Dialogue with its Indonesian counterpart, Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) along with other government agencies and stakeholders on both sides.
Through the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the Dialogue was conceptualized and proposed during the 8th meeting of the Philippines-Indonesia Joint Working Group on Trade, Investments, Handicrafts and Shipping (PH-ID JWG-TIHS) which was virtually conducted on August 11, 2020. It is also a follow-up initiative of the Philippine side after presenting economic proposals/areas for collaboration in the copper industry during the 7th meeting of the PH-ID JWG-TIHS on August 26, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“This serves as a venue for both countries to exchange information, share good practices, and present investment opportunities and areas for collaboration in the sector, among others. The dialogue serves as a benchmark for future initiatives and collaborations between the Philippines and Indonesia in different sectors,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said.
To recall, the BOI recently launched the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone or LEIZ Master Development Plan which outlines the strategies to successfully develop the very first ecological industrial zone in the country that will anchor on the copper industry and other allied industries such as iron and steel and shipbuilding. Another BOI-led project, the Make It Happen in the Philippines investments promotion campaign, features the copper industry as one of the priority sectors for investment promotion. These projects relate to the current pandemic situation as it forms part of the Philippines’ plan in rebuilding the economy.
Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Wee expressed support for the dialogue saying it is instrumental in advancing the cooperation of both sides as he expects both countries to coordinate with each other for cooperation and eventual joint projects.
During the dialogue, both sides presented overviews of its respective mining/copper industry and existing/relevant policies, as well as possible collaboration areas in the sector.
Undersecretary Rodolfo expressed hope that both countries will complement each other with “Indonesia helping us develop our upstream, midstream, and downstream copper industries that are needed to realize full integration of the industry which we hope to achieve by 2030.”
Mr. Eulalio Austin Jr., President and CEO of Philex Mining Corp. mentioned the pipeline copper projects of Silangan Project in Surigao del Norte, Tampakan Project in South Cotabato, and Kingking Project in Compostela Valley that will require huge capital investments. Once these will be realized, it will yield economic progress not only to Mindanao but the country in general.
The Indonesian side led by BKPM Director for Bilateral Investment Cooperation Mr. Randi Anwar, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources’ Director General for Mineral and Coal Dr. Muhammad Wafid, and Ministry of Industry’s Acting Head of Sub-Directorate for Non-Iron Metal Industry Dr. Bimo Pratomo, welcomed future collaboration and cooperation activities on the copper/mining industry to help each sides’ downstream copper industries.
“There is certainly a wide scope of cooperation between the Philippines and Indonesia to undertake concerted and mutually supportive efforts to grow our copper industries and improve our integration in global value chains. This dialogue is a recognition of the opportunities for cooperation between our two countries. I am confident that this will only be one of the many bilateral initiatives for the copper industry,” BOI Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa said in the dialogue’s closing.
The online dialogue was attended by several government agencies including DTI-BITR, DTI-EMB, DTI-FTSC, PTIC-Jakarta, Embassy of the Philippines in Indonesia, and representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Science and Technology and along with various industry stakeholders in mining, smelting, downstream copper players, and industry associations. Meanwhile, the Indonesian delegation included the BKPM, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Ministry of Industry, PT Freeport Indonesia, Philippine Business Club, and the Embassy of Indonesia in the Philippines.