With Silangan momentum set, Philex shopping for more mining sites
Philex Mining Corp. is eyeing new mining prospects in some parts of the country now that plans for its Silangan copper-gold project in Surigao del Norte are underway, according to company chair Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“There are prospects in Mindanao and even in Benguet province … areas in Padcal itself,” Pangilinan told ANC on Wednesday.
Philex Mining was exploring these prospects, which he said “appear to be bright” and could be pursued “within the year.”
“We [have] other mining prospects now that we’ve started Silangan and we’ve been approached by other mining owners … We’re looking at gold, copper and even nickel,” he said.
Rising prices, demand
“Some discussions are fairly advanced, so we’d like to get going on those projects,” he added.
Pangilinan is expecting 2022 to be a “good year” for the mining industry, with prices and demand for commodities such as gold, copper and nickel rising.
“With the advent of e-vehicles, I think there will be a huge demand for metals as they manufacture these electric vehicles. We all know that will be the future for the automotive industry,” he added. Nickel is a key component in lithium-ion batteries, a type of rechargeable battery used in electric vehicles.
Philex Mining is poised to start the development of the Silangan project, touted as one of the largest mining projects in the country, in the second quarter of this year.
Even though the government lifted the ban on open-pit mining in December last year, Pangilinan said they were still shifting to underground mining for the Silangan project because the latter was more environment-friendly while the former would cost them billions.
Philex Mining has invested P17.9 billion in the Silangan project to date. It intends to spend another $224 million to bankroll the mine site through a combination of capital infusion, stock rights offering and debt.
The in-phase plan covers the development of a starter mine that will produce around 2,000 tons of ore per day. The deposit will be extracted using a starter sublevel cave mine.
Production will be gradually ramped up until it reaches 12,000 tons a day or 4 million tons a year.
Philex Mining has estimated it would generate almost $7 billion in sales of metallic minerals throughout the 28-year lifespan of the Silangan project, which could start commercial operations by early 2025.
As for its Padcal mine in Benguet, Philex Mining is mulling over the extension of the project’s lifespan in order to boost income stream.
Padcal mine, where copper and gold have been extracted starting 1958, has been scheduled to cease operations by end-2024 after several extensions to its mine life.