Gomez: mining industry has minimal contribution to Mindanao regions

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 January) – Contributions of the mining industry to Mindanao’s economy are meager, compared with agriculture from 2001 to 2009, Margarita “Maita” Gomez, Coordinator of Bantay Kita Action for Economic Reforms, said at the first day of the two-day International Conference of Mining on Thursday.

Gomez said that based on her research culled from government data, agriculture is still the top contributor to the GRDP in Mindanao.

She said that in Region 9 which comprises the three Zamboanga provinces and Isabela City in Basilan, the mining industry contributed only 1.06% out of the 15% contribution of the industry sector to the gross regional domestic product (GRDP).

Agriculture contributed 50% to the GRDP and the services sector at 34% .

“If you really oppose TVI, it could disappear and not hurt you,” Gomez said in her presentation on Contributions of Mining to Philippine Economy.

TVI Resource Development (Phils). Inc, the Philippine affiliate of TVI Pacific Inc., a publicly listed Canadian mining firm, is among several mining firms operating in the Zamboanga region.

In Region 10, comprising the provinces of Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte and Camiguin, “you won’t miss it either,” Gomez said, adding that agriculture contributed 30%, services 39% and industry 31% but out of this, mining contributed only .66%

In Region 11, comprising the three Davao provinces and Compostela Valley, agriculture accounted for 28%; services 41% and 31% industry with mining contributed 3.97%.

Gomez did not specify where the mining contribution came from but it is likely from the small-scale mining operations mostly in Compostela Valley.

In Region 12 which comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato, mining contributed only .14 % to the GRDP from out of the 31% industry sector’s share. Agriculture still topped the contributions to the region with 42% and services at 27%.

Gomez had no figures for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Caraga region, which comprises the two Agusans and two Surigaos and Dinagat Islands province, hosts the most number of mining tenements. For the same period, agriculture accounted for 37% contribution to the GRDP, 35% services and 28% industry. Of the 28%, mining contributed 6.38%

Gomez said the highest contribution of the mining industry to the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product between 2000 and 2009 was in 2007, at 1.4%.

“If the Chamber of Mines says the economy will collapse if we irritate them, I don’t think so,” she said, adding that is already the highest. “On the average, it was less than 1%.”

Gomez also debunked claims by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines that mining employs 200,000 but her research found it only contributed 0.376% to the total employment from 2000 to 2009.

In his presentation, Andrew Bauer, economic analyst at the Revenue Watch Institute, noted that the mining industry is “not a large job generator.”

He said in Mongolia, which hosts the third largest copper mine, 11,400 jobs were generated, “half Mongolian, half foreign, during the construction phase.”

“Only 3,500 jobs will be permanent,” he said.

Gomez called for a mining moratorium, a rational mining policy and effective governance to ensure proper enforcement of laws. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)