Philex Mining eyes expansion of portfolio into in-demand nickel
MANILA -Philex Mining Corp. of tycoon Manuel Pangilinan is expanding its mining footprint in the Philippines by venturing into nickel mining.
The firm’s president and CEO Eulalio Austin Jr. said they are exploring a mine site in Zambales to explore other opportunities in the mining sector.
“We are also looking into the nickel space considering that the transition to this green energy is a global issue right now,” Austin said at the sidelines of the 2023 Mining Philippines International Conference and Exhibition.
“We also have to try our luck in nickel. We have been doing copper and gold for so many years. If the trend right now is the transition to renewable energy or electric vehicles, you should join the van,” he added.
Philex Mining is exploring the mining properties of Macawiwili Gold Mining and Development Company Inc. (MGMDCI) and Lumiere Mining Inc. (LMI) as well as its nickel property in Zambales.
MGMDCI owns a mining property adjacent to Philex Mining’s Padcal mine site in Benguet. On the other hand, LMI has a copper gold mine in Zambales which was closed during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.
“The owners of the property are now offering it to us and we have started confirmatory drilling if there are really remaining resources or reserves to mine,” he told reporters.
Austin said no business deal has been closed at this point as Philex Mining is conducting a confirmatory drilling which is expected to be concluded by the end of this year.
“There’s no initial offer yet but before we could offer, we need to check if there’s really value on the ground,” he told reporters. “It’s our first time in nickel. We have been in gold and copper business for so long. That’s why are are trying to sort out.”
For the Zambales site, Austin said they will be asking for some guidance or tapping a partner to develop the property situated in the towns of Candelaria and Santa Cruz. So far, the mining firm secured an exploration permit and initiated groundworks.
“The direction is to get partners that will teach us to mine nickel,” he added.
In June, Philex Mining said it signed a nonbinding term sheet with MGMDCI commercial, financial and technical avenues in preparation for potential acquisition of an interest in the latter.
It involved the conduct of due diligence and scout drilling activities on MGMDCI’s property covered by a mineral production sharing agreement in Itogon town.
Philex Mining had said this was in line with the company’s move to broaden interest in green metals through mergers and acquisitions.