SoCot chamber exec calls for public sector partnership to push copper-gold project

July 30, 2010 12:05 pm 

DAVAO CITY, July 30 — South Cotabato Chamber of Commerce (SCCI) president Orlando dela Cruz cited the need of public sector partnership in pushing for the beleaguered Tampakan Copper-Gold Project operating in Sultan Kudarat, and Davao del Sur provinces.

Dela Cruz said the Tampakan project, managed by Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), suffered a snag last month when the South Cotabato Provincial Board and outgoing governor Daily Avance-Fuentes passed a law banning the open pit mining.

He said the project has admitted to utilizing the method as soon as it commences operations.

“We need the local government units, local, provincial and national, and the business industry to cooperate and make sure that this project pushes through,” de la Cruz in a statement said.

However, dela Cruz remains optimistic, saying the project is a key to address poverty.

“We need the cooperation of all sectors. The issue here is about having a project that can address the issue of poverty in our province. We need jobs,” he said.

He said SMI project can create as much as 9,000 jobs once it goes into full swing in 2015. This estimate was mentioned in a fact sheet mapping out the status and future of the Tampakan Project, considered the biggest single foreign investment in the country since the Palawan-based Camago-Malampaya Project.

According to the fact sheet, a 9,000-strong workforce will be needed for the construction of the project while 2,000 more will be needed for the maintenance of the copper mine and its facilities. Per company policy, South Cotabato gets priority over the selection of potential workers for the project. About 90% of SMI’s employees presently come from South Cotabato.

“We welcome this good news,” dela Cruz said.

He said this is more than the number of jobs available for the province, but the increase of the purchasing power of these workers will result to a more robust local economy.

“We can supply these workers for constructions, road works and even office employees. We have the talent and the supply,” he said.

Dela Cruz added that the need for such a big labor force will “redefine the economic panorama” of the province. (PNA) FFC/JGQ/lvp

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