Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Sustainable mineral resources in the Philippines

The Philippines is a mineral-rich country yet mining is restricted due to previous negative environmental impact, illegal operations and mismanagement. This programme seeks sustainable solutions that benefit the economy and local livelihoods and minimise negative impacts on the environment.

£3 million
2021 to 2024
Partners involved:
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD)

The scope and what we're doing

This programme aims to:

  • improve understanding of the impacts of past and future mining practices in the Philippines
  • develop new innovative approaches to the production of minerals that minimise negative impacts on the environment and the health and wellbeing of communities.

As one of the world’s most mineral-rich countries, mineral extraction in the Philippines is a critical industry which offers significant potential benefits and returns to both the economy and local livelihoods. The global demand for minerals to support clean energy technologies is growing but mining for minerals remains restricted in the Philippines due to past environmental impacts, illegal operations and mismanagement.

This new programme of research is essential to deliver a sustainable pathway for Philippine mineral supplies.

Three research themes have been identified to address this overarching objective:

  • novel technologies for the sustainable extraction and understanding of mineral deposition in the Philippines
  • legacy (abandoned) mines and mine tailings including resource recovery, processing of untapped or unprocessed minerals, and understanding of the impacts of past practices and routes to ecosystem rehabilitation
  • understanding the fate, transport, and impact of associated contaminants through the environment.

Why we're doing it

The increased global ambition to meet the climate change goals outlined in the Paris Agreement needs a switch towards cleaner energy technologies, which are mineral-intensive. The Philippines has abundant mineral reserves yet the Philippines government imposed a moratorium on all mining activities between 2016 and 2018 in response to detrimental environmental and social impact. The government continues to restrict mining and impose closures where needed.

Despite the moratorium, the Philippines government seeks to promote responsible mineral development “where technically feasible, environmentally compliant, socially acceptable and financially viable”.

A new approach to the production of minerals in the Philippines is therefore needed to inform policy, improve operating standards in local mines, and ensure that the negative impacts of mineral extraction are minimised, while continuing to benefit the Philippine economy and local livelihoods. This requires a better understanding of the impacts of past and future mining practices in the Philippines, and new innovative approaches that are not harmful to the environment and the health and wellbeing of communities.

Who to contact

Charlotte Hawkins, Programme Manager


Governance, management and panels

This is a funding programme with two stages and a Knowledge Exchange (KE) Fellowship.

Stage one: partnership and project development grants

The aim of these grants is to enable UK and Philippine researchers to collaborate to develop interdisciplinary teams and refine project ideas to address the research needs essential to delivering a route to sustainable mineral production in the Philippines.

Five partnership and project development grants of up to £50,000 have been awarded.

Stage two: strategic large grants

These grants will support up to two research teams with strategic large grants of up to £1.2 million and 15 million Philippine Peso to deliver a three-year research programme.

Strategic large grants are open to partnership and project development grant holders only. NERC has funding to support up to two strategic large grants of up to £1.2 million. DOST-PCIEERD is funding eligible Philippine-based researchers.

KE Fellowship

Funding to support a KE Fellowship for three years has been awarded as part of this programme.

KE fellows will work across the funded research project teams in the programme to:

  • help stakeholders work together and share information
  • be responsible for policy and industry engagement
  • ensure the visibility and legacy of outputs from the programme to relevant audiences.

Programme executive board

This programme will be governed by the programme executive board, which is responsible for providing the strategic direction and management for the programme and delivery of the programme’s objectives.

Membership comprises representatives from the funders and may include wider representatives and relevant users and stakeholders, as needed.


The secretary, based at NERC head office, provides administrative support to the programme executive board.

Last updated: 18 October 2022

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