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Subject: Comments to Draft Specifications for Application of UNFC-2009: from Rolando Reyes

5 November 2012

Comments from Rolando Y. Reyes, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute – PHILIPPINES’ participant to the recently concluded IAEA-CYTED-UNECE workshop in Lisbon, Portugal, October 15 – 18, 2012.

  1. Due to the sins of the past of the mining industry (environmental damage and poor concern towards host mining communities), there has been a huge leap in the anti-mining sentiments of local stakeholders, not only in the Philippines but worldwide. And while the UNFC 2009 takes into consideration as one of its fundamental criteria the economic and social viability (E), only the economic viability(ies) and nothing about the social viability(ies) is/are mentioned in the definition and supporting explanation within the categories E1, E2 and E3. What if a deposit can be codified as F1, G1 and all the market conditions are very favourable as to its economic viability but because of the strong resistance of the host community, including the surrounding communities that hampers/blocks the development of this resource, in what criteria under E (E1 or E2 or E3) will it be codified.
  2. Perhaps, the E fundamental criteria should be economic, political and social viability. In my country, the local government can create laws that affect their communities. A classic example is a considered world class huge porphyry Cu-Au discovery whose development has been stopped due to a law passed by the local government banning open pit/block caving mining within their area. Porphyry deposits are known to be economically mined via the open pit or block caving mining methods. This is a very promising economic venture stalled by politics.
  3. Because of scientific advancement and world market dictates allow for the economic extraction of trace amount of mineral resources as by-products, which country will report as their mineral resource(s), the buyer or the seller country of raw ore in which only the primary mineral(s) was/were bought/sold? As an example is the extraction of uranium, REE and other valuable resources (vanadium, cadmium, etc.) from phosphoric acid in the production of fertilizers. My country has very minor and poor quality of phosphate deposits, hence almost all the phosphate raw ores are imported by our fertilizer industry in the production of fertilizers. Will my country be the one to report these by-products, particularly uranium in the Red Book, in case the Red Book adopts the UNFC 2009? And what if the Red Book will not adopt the UNFC 2009?