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March 8, 2009

Philippines: Mining sector reels under credit crisis
Mining companies in the Philippines are cutting staff, putting some projects on hold and scrambling for cash as the global crisis financial drags down commodities prices, AFP quoted industry officials as saying.

The economic slowdown could not have come at a worse time for the resource-rich Southeast Asian country, which had been trying to rebuild the mining industry after a similar downturn in the 1970s.

But the government has scaled down its investment target for the industry this year to about $800 million, down from the original $1 billion but still above last year's $650 million inflow.




"I expect a little downgrading (of investments) but we are still optimistic," Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Joselito Atienza said earlier this year.

Foreign-funded projects have been among the most high-profile casualties.

To preserve cash, Australian miner OceanaGold Corp has put on hold its Didipio copper-gold project, which was among the biggest Philippines mining projects set to start production this year. No new schedule has been announced.

Berong Nickel Corp, a unit of London-based Toledo Mining Corp, suspended production and cut 600 jobs at its mine in Palawan last month.
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