The PhP8 million 12-month research project Potential Investment Alternatives to Mining has kicked off with the Resources, Environment and Economics Center for Studies, Inc. (REECS) as Consultant.

The research will assess the social, economic, and environmental impacts of mining in Caraga. The project will also determine potential investment opportunities as alternatives to mining especially in the areas of agriculture, fishery, forestry and eco-tourism, and industries that will lead the region into a knowledge economy.

REECS will do the project in four parts. First, REECS will determine the extent of social, economic, and environmental impact of mining in Caraga Region. For social impact, REECS will study the effects of mining operations on the socio-cultural aspects of the host and neighboring communities. For economic impact, REECS will study the following: (1) effects of mining on the GRDP, (2) contributions of mining to local taxes and revenues and their utilization, (3) effects of mining on employment generation, (4) how mining affects per capita income, (5) influence of mining on economic activities, and (6) influence of mining on economic policies. For environmental impact, REECS will study the scale of mining operations and its effects on the environment. From the assessments, the Consultant will come up with Socio-economic Impact and Environmental Impact Reports.

Second, REECS will determine potential investment opportunities as alternatives to mining using the following guide questions: (1) what available resources have investment potential, (2) where these resources are located, (3) how can these potential resources be tapped, (4) what skills are needed to develop each investment potential, (5) what level of development is required in each investment potential, and (6) are there existing government or private interventions on these resources. The result will be translated into an Investment Portfolio for the region.

Third, REECS will develop a value chain analysis for each of the prioritized investment potential following these guide questions: (1) what products/services can be manufactured/produced from each potential investment, (2) what are the competitive advantages or disadvantages of each potential investment, (3) cost-benefit analysis of each investment potential relative to mining, (4) what technologies are needed, (5) how much employment can be generated for each potential investment, (6) what skills are needed in each value chain, and (7) what policy interventions are in place for each potential investment. The result of the analysis will comprise the Value Chain Analysis and Cost-benefit Analysis reports.

Finally, the Consultant together with NEDA-Caraga will conduct an Investment Congress in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Sherwin E. Verdun, NEDA-Caraga