PEZA to grant ecozone status to gold-rich Mount Diwalwal to attract big investors
MANILA — The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) plans to turn some 8,000 hectares of land of Philippine Mining Development Corp. (PMDC) into mineral processing industry zones, PEZA Director General Charito Plaza said.
In an interview, Plaza said PMDC’s 8,000-hectare land include covers part of the gold-rich Mt. Diwalwal in Monkayo, Compostela Valley.
“What’s happening in Diwalwal is that there are no investors and many are squatting and operating illegally,” the PEZA chief.
“So we will be inviting investors who will put up the mineral processing plants. For example in Diwalwal, it’s gold. Basically, it’s a gold mining area. Once we bring a gold processing plant, which many already manifested to come, we will be able to put a stop on the illegal extraction of our minerals, or the smuggling especially of our gold,” Plaza said.
She said gold minerals extracted by illegal miners were being smuggled to Hong Kong and other countries.
“So we will help the Philippine Mining Development Corp. put order in these mining areas that are owned by the government. And we will invite soon the different mining companies of the country, encouraging them to put up mineral processing industries,” Plaza said.
“This is also in line with the pronouncement of President Duterte during his SONA (State of the Nation Address) that our government is now looking at how to stop the exportation of raw minerals. So this project of PEZA inviting mineral processing industries is the answer,” the PEZA chief added.
Plaza, however, said the investment promotion agency would only allow investors who would put up mineral processing plants in these mining lands to create more industries and jobs.
“So PEZA is now inviting the basic industries to come because we have the raw minerals as their source of the finished product,” she said.
Plaza said PEZA would like to fast-track the signing of the agreement with PMDC to include the 8,000 hectares of mining lands in PEZA’s ecozone map targeted to be launched next month. (PNA)