DENR gives DOE go signal to explore Benham Rise for rich deposits
By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, Aug. 3 (PNA) –- Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje said on Thursday that the Department of Energy (DOE) can now explore the seabed of Benham Rise for possible natural gas and other mineral resources.
Paje revealed this as he included in the DENR’s performance review in the Senate the approval of the Philippines’ claim on the jurisdiction over the seabed resources in Benham Rise area by the United Nation on April 12, 2012.
”It’s now ours. The UN has agreed. It’s already ours. The DOE can take the ball if they want to,” Paje said.
Paje told the Senate committee on finance that the Benham Rise is rich in manganese and possibly, other minerals and natural gas.
DENR undersecretary Peter Tiangco, who spearheaded the campaign to get the jurisdiction of the Benham Rise seabed for 12 years, said if the DOE or any department cannot explore the area at this time “the important thing is it is now ours.”
”We have to think of our future generation,” Tiangco told the media.
Tiangco clarified that the Philippines will have jurisdiction only over the seabed resources “but the water column is open for any country.”
Tiangco expressed optimism that the Benham Rise is rich of deposits because it is located in the continental shelf.
”Virtually, all resources of the world are located in continental shelf. So, we can expect a lot of minerals there,” Tiangco said.
The Benham Rise is a seismically active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge located approximately 250 kilometers east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela.
The Philippines has lodged a claim of the area with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) on April 8, 2009, but was approved only last April by the UNCLCS. (PNA)