GMA gets $1.2b in investments from New Zealand

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has drummed up $1.22 billion in investments in mining, the environment and agriculture in her visit this week to New Zealand.

Wrapping up her three-day state visit before proceeding to Australia yesterday, the President announced the investments and expressed confidence that trade between the two countries would continue to grow rapidly.

Of the total amount, $1 billion will go to a reforestation project in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, to be financed by CK Tan of Shannolane.

“Every tree… eases global warming and saves lives,” the President said.

The project, which is tied into sustained livelihood for residents in the area, was expected to begin in October, the President said.

Also during the President’s visit, the chief executive of Oceana Gold, Stephen Orr, said his company would invest $150 million in a Philippine mining venture.

The company recently tied up with a local mining firm for the first large-scale gold-copper mining project in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya.

The 15-year mining operation will be directly undertaken by the Australian Philippine Mining Inc., a local subsidiary of the Australian firm Climax-Arimco Mining Corp.

New Zealand companies have also signed $40 million in contracts with the Philippine Wood Producers Association to process raw lumber.

The association’s chairman, Antonio Alizon, said businessmen from New Zealand were attracted by the country’s proximity to top wood-importers Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.

New Zealand companies also signed $30 million in contracts to buy Philippine tropical fruits such as bananas, mangos and pineapples.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said both fresh and processed fruits would be exported to New Zealand, where demand for fresh mangos was growing.