USAid, UPPAF forge partnership for PH critical minerals
DEXTER A. SEE
The Manila Times
BAGUIO CITY: The University of the Philippines Public Administration Foundation (UPPAF), in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAid), US Commercial Service and five Philippine government agencies, recently formalized a partnership to operationalize a $5-million technical assistance program to develop the country’s critical minerals sector. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the Partnership for Sustainable Development and Investment in Mineral Extraction and Processing was signed at the US Ambassador’s Residence at Camp John Hay. The MoU was signed by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Anti-Red Tape Authority Director General Ernesto Perez, officials from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Finance, and Dr. Enrico Basilio, Chief of Party of USAid’s Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development (Respond) project. The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and the Philippine Nickel Industry Association also signed the MoU to symbolize the importance of collaboration between government and the private sector. USAid Philippines Deputy Mission Director Rebekah Eubanks and Dr. Maria Fe Mendoza, president of UPPAF, USAid’s implementing partner for the Respond project and facilitator of the technical assistance program, witnessed the signing. The comprehensive program will support the Philippine government’s goal to become a major global value chain player in the clean energy sector by maximizing the country’s mineral potentials and increasing value addition through minerals processing. This includes support for streamlining permitting processes, advancing policy reforms, improving minimum governance standards and helping facilitate the investments in minerals processing and other downstream industries. The launch of the partnership followed the meeting of US President Joseph Biden and President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. in Washington last May, where the two leaders announced that the US government through USAid, will investment additional P280 million to support increased production of processed minerals and expand downstream mineral industries in the Philippines such as the production of electric vehicle components and information and communications technologies equipment while improving governance standards in the mining industry. “The US government supports the Philippines’ aspiration to become a hub for minerals processing and the production of renewable energy systems, e-vehicles, and battery components,” Eubanks said at the signing ceremony. “As your partner in prosperity, the US government remains committed to supporting the Philippine government in pursuing a sustainable mining sector that contributes to inclusive and resilient economic growth for all Filipinos,” she added. US Trade Development Agency Indo-Pacific Region Manager Tanvi Madhusudanan provided updates on the agency’s P56 million or $1 million grant to Eramen Minerals Inc. that will evaluate the technical and economic viability of developing a nickel processing facility at the company’s mine site in Zambales. The feasibility study is expected to be completed by May 2024. The signing of the MoU was one of the sidelights of the recently concluded 69th edition of the Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference, which was spearheaded by the prestigious Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association.