Philippines' Philex delays copper-gold mine start by four years
MANILA, March 22 (Reuters) - Philippine copper and gold
producer Philex Mining Corp on Friday said the start of
output at its Silangan mine in the south of the country would be
delayed by four years until 2022, hit by a national ban on new
The Silangan copper and gold mine could be Philex's biggest
source of revenue after its 61-year-old Padcal mine in the north
is expected to close in 2022.
Silangan was originally slated to begin production by 2018,
but that has been set back by a ban on new open-pit mining
introduced in 2017 as the government in one of the world's top
copper, gold and nickel producers tries to step up environmental
Open-pit extraction has been used by many miners in the
Philippines, but is blamed for massive environmental destruction
in some areas.
Philex said in a statement on Friday that it was now looking
at an infrastructure design that would allow it to use
underground mining to extract ores.
"We are currently working on securing all requisite permits
and approvals to operate Silangan," said Chief Executive Officer
"We look forward to realising the massive potential of a
project of this magnitude."
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned he might
declare a total ban on open-pit mining as he ordered mining
companies to reforest denuded sites. The existing ban also
covers the $5.9 billion Tampakan copper-gold project in southern
Silangan consists of three deposit areas - Boyongan, Bayugo
and Kalayaan - with the latter a joint venture with Manila
Mining Corp. Boyongan is expected to be the first to
operate, by 2022.
Silangan's development was previously estimated to cost $1.2
billion, based on open-pit extraction. Philex did not give any
new estimate for the cost of the project.
Padcal accounted for 9 percent of gold output in the
Philippines last year at 29,782 kilograms, and 20 percent of its
copper concentrate production at 282,391 tonnes.
(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Joseph Radford)
First Published: 2019-03-22 09:02:31
Updated 2019-03-22 09:05:37
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