3 mining projects to jump-start gold, copper production
THREE mining projects worth a total of $3.8 billion are expected to start within this year, revving up investment inflows into the Philippines and ramping up domestic metals output.
Based on data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), investment in mining reached only $693.1 million in 2014.
MGB director Leo L. Jasareno told reporters the biggest item to jump-start 2016 was the Kingking gold and copper project in Compostela Valley.
Last December 29, the MGB approved the declaration of mining project feasibility (DMPF) for the Kingking project that costs $2.29 billion. This was the last major regulatory hurdle for the planned mine.
Jasareno said the other two major items were the Silangan project of Philex Mining Corp. in Surigao del Norte and the Runruno gold-molybdenum project of FCF Minerals Corp. in Nueva Vizcaya.
He added Silangan costs $850 million while Runruno is tagged at $700 million.
Regarding the Kingking project, Jasareno told the Inquirer that the approval of the DMPF was conditional. “They have to secure a mineral processing permit first,” the MGB chief said.
“Before mine development can proceed, the proponents also need to secure an amendment of the MPSA (mineral production sharing agreement) to include an adjacent area where some of the processing facilities shall be located,” he added.
Kingking proponents St. Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd. and Nationwide Development Corp. expect to extract from the mining site 3.16 billion pounds of copper and 5.43 million ounces of gold over 25 years.
In August 2015, St. Augustine said the start of mine construction was planned for this year.
On the other hand, Silangan is believed to contain five billion pounds of copper and nine million ounces of gold while Runruno is expected to churn out one million ounces of gold in 10 years or 100,000 ounces yearly.
MGB records showed that gold output in January to September of 2015 jumped by 19 percent year-on-year to 15,485 kilograms.
During that period, the major drivers of growth were from the Didipio copper-gold project of Oceanagold Philippines Inc., the Masbate gold project of Filminera Resources Inc., and the Maco gold operation of Apex Mining Co. Inc.