SSS seen as huge mining revival beneficiary

The state-run Social Security System (SSS) is bound to be among the topmost beneficiaries of the country’s revitalized mining sector, a senior member of Congress said on Sunday.

“The SSS has a substantial equity investment in one of the largest new mining ventures in the country,” Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr said in a statement.

Campos was referring to publicly listed Philex Mining Corp.’s $224 million Silangan copper-gold project, which is targeted to commence commercial operations by early 2025.

The SSS owns one-fifth, or 20.09 percent, of the outstanding common shares of Philex, based on Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) records as of June 30, 2022.

“We foresee the SSS reaping more benefits from its long-term equity stake in Philex. In the years ahead, we expect the pension fund to profit from a rising share price plus higher cash dividend income,” Campos said.

The earnings of the SSS help provide social security protection to 40.49 million covered Filipinos.

But the Silangan project in Tubod, Surigao del Norte is not just about investment gains for the SSS, Campos, House appropriations committee vice chairperson, said.

“We want the project to succeed because it will yield new badly needed royalty and tax income for the government, create more jobs, and generate additional foreign exchange earnings for the country,” Campos said.

Besides producing some 8,000 new jobs, Silangan is expected to contribute up to P80 billion in royalties and taxes to the government and result in P6 billion worth of community development spending around the mine site.

The figures are based on estimates from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and project details on Philex’s website.

Last week, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno declared that: “The mining industry holds the greatest potential to be a key driver of our economic recovery and long-term growth, especially now that world metal prices are high.”

Diokno made the statement on the occasion of the PSE listing of the new shares that Philex previously sold via a stock right offering to raise the initial P2.7 billion for the Silangan project.