US looking into nickel ore processing projects in PHL

THE US government is looking into opportunities to process nickel ore in the Philippines, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) said.

At an online media briefing late Tuesday, USTDA Director Enoh T. Ebong said the US is currently working on critical minerals projects in the Philippines.

“We are working in the Philippines currently through a project with Eramen Minerals, seeking to modernize and increase processing of nickel ore here,” Ms. Ebong said. 

“We will always look for opportunities for more, but it is a sector that we are working in and look forward to doing more,” she added.

US Senior Official for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Matt Murray said that there have been a number of economic engagements between the Philippines and the US, including the Trade and Investment Mission led by Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo.

“And I think through that there is certainly going to be expanded discussions on a whole range of issues, including critical minerals, and we look forward to continuing to have those engagements both bilaterally and in some of these regional mechanisms like IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework) and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation),” Mr. Murray said. 

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that the Philippines has proposed to accede to the US-Japan Critical Minerals Agreement instead of entering a bilateral critical minerals agreement with the US.

“This has been part of our discussions … We are already included in the CHIPS and Science Act, so that area is open for us. In terms of critical minerals, we are still looking for a way to do it without a bilateral agreement,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said on the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum on Tuesday. — Justine Irish D. Tabile