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Mining firm earns recognition for CSR

Business Mirror, Philippines
By Ernesto Hilario, 9 February 2016

How important is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program for a company?

For Philex Mining Corp., it is an integral part of good governance. That’s the reason it has gained respect and recognition as the face of responsible mining in the country.

In November last year Philex was hailed as the top publicly listed company (PLC) in corporate governance among 263 participants in the local bourse during the first Asean Corporate Governance Scorecard Awards held in the country. Philex was also among the top 50 PLCs in the Asean region in the field.

Philex was, likewise, named as one of the top 5 firms in corporate governance in the highly prestigious Fourth Annual Philippines Stock Exchange Bell Awards held in the same month.

 

 

In the area of sustainability, Philex bested other local and regional companies by being named as one of the top 5 CSR companies in Asia during the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability (Aces) Awards night held in Singapore.

 

The Aces Awards are handed out to companies that have carried out significant CSR campaigns, or implemented policies and structures that generate returns going beyond financial gain.

While these accolades do not directly contribute to the bottom
line, investors appreciate and
reward companies that demonstrate strong corporate governance and CSR platforms.

Recently, Philex’s share price slowly climbed from P3.91 per share at the end of January to P4.68 per share as of February 4 and has, in fact, outperformed the Philippine Stock Exchange index, which has fallen by 1 percent during the same period.

Gold prices in the world market have rallied to around $1,155 per ounce from $1,128 per ounce.

While a correlation between gold prices and Philex’s share price performances can be surmised, it is an incontrovertible fact that sound corporate-governance practices and an effective CSR program—two characteristics that are deeply embedded in and imprinted in the company’s DNA—serve to enhance the value of an organization.

 

Untapped potential

Philex’s successful CSR programs are taking place amid the decline in the Philippine mining industry. The country has $1.4 trillion worth of untapped mineral reserves, including gold, copper and nickel, according to industry estimates. The Philippines produced metals worth a record $3.1 billion in 2014, when it was the world’s top nickel producer, contributing more than 18 percent of global supply. But mining contributed just 0.7 percent to the GDP in 2013, as compared, for instance, to 8.3 percent for South Africa during the same period. This was attributed to complicated application procedures and intense anti-mining sentiment among indigenous peoples claimingancestral domain.

Under the Aquino administration, the contribution of the
mining industry to economic growth has not substantially improved because of a moratorium on new mining permits in 2012. It is now open to lifting the moratorium, but it also wants to levy higher taxes on newly approved mines and on mines whose permits would be renewed. Under the new tax system, the government’s share of revenue over the lifetime of a mine would increase to between 64 percent and 72 percent, from 59 percent.

In other words, this would really make mining uncompetitive as it would deter new mining firms from coming in, and would drive those already operating here out of business.

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