Dubai: Gold is one of the rarest and priciest metals. The Philippines, it’s been said, sits on “mountains of gold”. This epithet needs a closer look.
Figures from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), a government agency, show that the country produced 20.765 metric tonnes (MT) of gold in 2018, valued at $866.72 million (Php44.8 billion, Dh3.14 billion).
It was slightly down from the previous year (2017), when the Asian country produced 22.749 MT of gold, valued at Php46.79 billion ($894.64 million, Dh3.2 billion), MGB data show.
About half of the world’s gold production ends up as jewellery, some 10% for industrial use, while one-third goes into bars and coins held by monetary authorities and central banks around the world.
Gold is traded daily, bought and sold by individuals, funds and banks. Price is dictated by supply and demand. Currently, all the gold in the world is worth about $8 trillion.
Together with silver, and other base metals like copper, nickel and chromite, the Philippines’ mining industry produced Php121 billion (about $2.3 billion) in 2018, up from Php110.43 billion ($2.11 billion) in 2017.
Forbes magazine estimates the Philippines’ mineral extraction industry at $1.4 trillion. There are at least 15 Philippine provinces identified as “gold-rich”.
In the last 112 years since the opening of Benguet Mines, the first commercial mining operation in the country’s north, the industry has helped the national economy.
However, the Philippine has endured of the most persistent poverty levels in South-east Asia.