Canadian companies will continue to mine in the Philippines as long as the Philippine government allows
them, according to Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines John T. Holmes.
Holmes also said that Canadian miners will abide by standards outlined under the law in the Philippines.
Canada and Australia are two of the biggest mining operators in the country.
Several foreign mines, including that of Holmes’s home country, were affected, following the order of
Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez to close 23 mining operations and suspend five others.
“Yes (Canadian firms will continue mining in the Philippines),” Holmes said during an evening reception
at his residence in Metro Manila.
He added that Canada will honour any Philippine government decisions on the mining industry.
“Whatever you decide, that is your sovereign right. If you don’t want mining, let us know,” said the
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last month ordered the shutdown of 23
of the country’s 41 operational metal mines while suspending five miners for various violations.
According to the ambassador, Canadian mining companies which have been issued licenses by the
government will continue to operate as these firms practice responsible mining and ”contribute
enormously both to the national economy and the local economy.”
“Whatever standards that you put in place, Canada will comply with them, but what we want is fairness.
We want objectivity in the rule of law,” he said.
“Companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars. They want to know what are the terms and
they don’t want the terms to change mid-way through,” he added.
“Yes, and I want to say, and I said this to the President, to the finance minister, I will say this to the
secretary of the DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources]: ‘Whatever you decide
upon, that is your sovereign right,’” the ambassador said.
He proceeded, “If you do not want mining, let us know. If you want responsible mining, which is what
the President is hoping for, we have here some of the companies with the highest standards in the
world, in terms of [concern for the] environment and corporate social responsibility.”
“In fact, two of the Canadian companies have already gotten their licenses, so they will continue. And
whatever standards are put in place, Canada will comply with them. But what we want is fairness,
objectivity and the rule of law,” Holmes added.
He said the mining companies have invested “millions of dollars. They want to know what the terms are;
but they do not want the terms changed midway through”.
“I mean, raising environmental standards, that is fine; but some fundamental things [may suddenly
change in future, when we might be told:] ‘Oh, we do not want you mining in this area,’ after we have
been given the contract.”
“I think it says something that two of our biggest mining companies will likely continue [their
operations], because they are responsible, and they contribute enormously to the economy both at the
national and the local level,” Holmes pointed out.