Swiss miners wooed to kickstart sector

Photograph courtesy of FB/Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala Team Phl In a show of unity to push the economy, tycoons, from left, Aboitiz Equity Ventures CEO Sabin Aboitiz, Alliance Global Group CEO Kevin Andrew Tan, International Container Terminal Services Inc.CEO Enrique Razon and JG Summit Holdings CEO Lance Gokongwei stand side-by-side to wave the Philippine flag at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual met with officials of top Swiss mining firms to draw investments to sustainable mining in the country.

Both met with Gary Nagle, Chief Executive Officer of Glencore, to discuss the company’s interest to expand mining and processing operations in the Philippines during the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Founded in the 1970s, Glencore is one of the world’s largest globally diversified natural resource companies and has grown to become a major producer and marketer of commodities – employing 135,000 people around the world.

Glencore’s operations comprise around 60 mining, metallurgical, and oil production assets, with the purpose of responsibly sourcing the commodities that advance everyday life.

During the meeting, the company sees the Philippines as a potential partner to process nickel and copper resources responsibly and sustainably for use in electric vehicle batteries and energy storage units, among others.

Last November, the Marcos administration identified mining as the industry seen to help ensure a sustainable recovery of the economy that still feels the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the threat of a global economic slowdown.

The benefit of mobilizing investments for mine development has been underscored by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who gave a guarantee on the Marcos administration’s commitment to continue creating an enabling environment for mining activities.

However, Diokno also pointed out that the government expects the mining industry to strictly adhere to responsible and sustainable practices and called for players in the industry to strike a balance between protecting the environment, uplifting local communities, and supporting the government’s socioeconomic agenda.

SciTech approach

Meanwhile, Pascual and the President last Tuesday graced the “CEO Dialogue on the Philippines,” an invitation-only informal dialogue with President Marcos and other members of the economic team.

At the event, Pascual discussed the country’s trade and investment priorities aimed at uplifting the lives of Filipinos and attracting strategic trade and investments in the Philippines, especially in key sectors such as renewable energy, high-tech manufacturing, and innovation.

“To further attract investments in the Philippines, it is imperative that we facilitate the industrial transformation that will complement our economic recovery initiatives. “We at DTI consider science, technology, and innovation, including digital technologies as our main drivers. STI will facilitate the development of new goods, services, and even industries; increase production efficiency, and strengthen industrial linkages,” Pascual told his counterparts.

MSME promotion

On the same day, Pascual also participated and spoke at the “MSME’s Going Global” session, where he shared the country’s initiatives to MSMEs improve productivity and increase market reach through financing programs, digital tools, and technology.

“One of our top priorities is to usher MSMEs’ digital transformation. Digitized MSMEs will be able to reduce operational costs, reach larger markets, and increase productivity. Aside from this, we also encourage consumers to patronize our Go Lokal project, which also enables MSMEs to have a wider market reach. As MSMEs grow, they contribute to our overall economic development, that is why it is important that the government empowers them,” he said.

Among the key speakers during the session is Intentionality President and Founding Partner Therese Fernandez-Ruiz, the person behind the brand R2R (Rags2Riches). After the launch of this initiative at WEF Davos 2023, a steering community will be created by WEF in advancing the goal of helping MSMEs across the globe access new markets and opportunities.

Since he started as Trade chief, Pascual vowed the agency’s priority is to upgrade and upsize micro, small, and medium enterprises through digitalization and digital transformation in collaboration with the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

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