BOI sees 3 more nickel processing plants in PH by 2028

By Anna Leah Gonzales

May 10, 2024, 5:07 pm

<p>Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo. <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Three more nickel processing plants are expected to be built in the Philippines within the term of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., a Trade official said on Friday.

"There are interested parties to put up HPAL (High-Pressure Acid Leach) facility in the Philippines. I mentioned three because they are looking at three areas like Zambales, Surigao, Palawan," Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said at the sidelines of the Mining Summit in Makati City.

Rodolfo said the combined value of these investments is estimated at USD12 billion.

"These are already ongoing discussions medyo nalate na nga (it's a little late) because initially we are looking at end-2023 for the parties to finalize their agreements and start on this process," he said.

He said potential investors are from China, Australia, America, Japan, and Korea.

The Philippine government is aiming to attract more investments in mineral processing to leverage its status as one of the world's most mineral-rich nations to drive economic growth.

To date, the Philippines has only two nickel processing plants.

Raw nickel ore is a critical component of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. It is also processed to create stainless steel, which is used in the development of megacities and renewable energy technology.

"We are anchoring our aspiration to be an electric vehicle manufacturer and assembler based on the GEMS- green metals, electronics, market and then software development. So all the way to EV," Rodolfo said.

Meanwhile, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the country's abundant mineral resources could fuel green technologies and create a wave of high-quality job opportunities for Filipinos once their full potential is realized.

In his speech during the summit, Balisacan said the mining sector is still underutilized but has immense potential.

Despite the sector's modest contribution to the country's gross domestic product, which stood at 0.5 percent by the end of 2023, he believes there is room for significant growth.

"With abundant reserves of minerals vital for producing green technologies such as solar PVs (photovoltaic cells), wind turbines, and electric vehicle batteries, the Philippines is strategically positioned to tap into global markets for these technologies and maximize the value derived from its mineral products,” he said.

Balisacan also believes that this can be achieved by further developing downstream metallic and non-metallic mineral processing to bolster the expansion of domestic manufacturing industries focused on green technologies. (PNA)