The Philippines doesn’t have the fifth largest gold deposit in the world, contrary to a claim by independent senatorial candidate and social media personality Francis Leo Marcos in a Facebook video posted by his page March 22.
The distinction belongs to Indonesia, which ranked fifth in the world with 2,600 metric tons of reserves of gold, based on the Mineral Commodity Summary for gold by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) this year. The Philippines is not among the top 19 countries.
The USGS defines reserves as “that part of the reserve base that could be economically extracted or produced at the time of determination” with or without extraction facilities in place.
The USGS collects and analyzes information on the mineral industries of more than 170 countries, the Philippines included.
It bases its findings on, ideally, “comprehensive evaluations that apply the same criteria to deposits in different geographic areas.” If these are unavailable, it uses the countries’ own national assessments, with nongovernment sources as last resort.
Marcos, whose real name is Norman Mangusin based on his birth certificate, made the claim while discussing his platform for utilizing the country’s natural resources. He said at the 3:38 mark:
I will also include the exploration and managing of many untouched natural and mineral resources, such as gold, silver, copper, of course nickel. Everything. The Philippine (sic) rank (sic) as fifth largest deposit of gold in the world.
Online searches of the Philippines’ world ranking in gold deposits and other minerals, meanwhile, turn up information that dates back to the 1980s with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as source.
A 2005 Senate policy paper on the local mining industry indicated that according to the MGB, the Philippines was the fifth most mineralized country and second globally with the largest gold deposit in the 1980s. The paper did not specify the year.
These rankings have appeared in news reports, some without saying they were from the 1980s.
For example, a 2015 Forbes article mentioned the Philippines is second globally in gold deposits. A 2012 Rappler article, the Australian government’s profile of the Philippines’ mining industry and a local mining corporation’s website mentioned the Philippines is the fifth most mineralized country. None indicated that the data came from the 1980s.
The Marcos family has denied any relation with the social media personality through a letter sent to the Mindanao Daily News, according to its now deleted article from 2020.
The video has received more than 1,400 reactions and more than 200 shares. (CC)