Bloomberg News

Philippines to Increase Troops in South After Mine Attacks

October 04, 2011

(Updates with comments from Armed Forces deputy chief of staff in second paragraph.)

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The Philippines will increase troops in the southern part of the country after at least 200 Maoist rebels yesterday attacked several mines, including a nickel project of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co.

As many as 600 soldiers will be deployed in Surigao del Norte province to “augment forces and pursue” the attackers, Armed Forces deputy chief of staff Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta told reporters today in Manila. As much as 2 billion pesos ($45.4 million) in equipment was destroyed, according to a police statement.

The three attacks yesterday were “well planned and ‘‘motivated by money,’’ police Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said in a briefing in Manila. The communist National Democratic Front claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement.

The Southeast Asian nation is betting on investments in infrastructure and mining to help boost economic growth. The government expects at least $1.4 billion in mining investments this year and the amount may double after President Benigno Aquino won pledges during last month’s visit to China, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Leo Jasareno said on Sept. 13. That compares to about $900 million in 2010.

Sumitomo’s $1.4 billion Taganito mine project is the single-biggest investment in the Philippine mining industry and employs about 6,000 people, the Chamber of Mines said.

Nickel Asia Corp. will divert output from two other mines to cover the shipments affected from Taganito, Chief Financial Officer Emmanuel Samson said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel. Nickel Asia, which is Sumitomo’s partner in the Philippines and is also partly owned by the Japanese company, saw shares fell as much as 12.9 percent before closing 2.6 percent lower at 16.82 pesos in Manila today.

The attack ‘‘undermines the peace process and makes it difficult to pursue negotiations,” Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

--With assistance from Clarissa Batino. Editors: John Brinsley, Patrick Harrington

To contact the reporter on this story: Cecilia Yap at cyap19@bloomberg.net; Joel Guinto at jguinto1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net; Rebecca Evans at revans6@bloomberg.net


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