Villar’s King-king mining firm wooing foreign partners
MANILA -St. Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd. of billionaire Manuel Villar is in discussions with potential foreign partners to push through with the King-king Copper-Gold Project in Davao de Oro, touted as one of the major mining projects in the Philippines.
Its first order of business is to find an investor to develop the King-king project in Pantukan town as the investment in the planned mine site is estimated at $2 billion (P113.6 billion), the company’s chief operating officer Michael Regino said.
“Many foreign investors are talking to us and waiting for the completion of a PFS (pre-feasibility or preliminary feasibility study),” Regino said on the sidelines of the 2023 Mining Philippines International Conference and Exhibition.
Regino did not divulge the identity of foreign firms that have approached St. Augustine Gold and Copper but only said some of them are based in China and Japan.
St. Augustine Gold and Copper already commissioned an independent mining consultant from the US to conduct the PFS which was last updated in 2013.
Regino said the updated PFS will help them determine the project’s cost and viability as well as decide whether to build the copper-gold project in one go or in phases.
“What we are doing now is having the 2013 PFS updated. Hopefully, it will be ready by early of next year, the ones we contracted to update the PFS said that they might be ready by January so hopefully with that, we will be able to see the revised figures and based on current prices, revenues and cost,” he said.
According to St. Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd.’s website, the King-king Copper-Gold Project is a gold-rich porphyry copper deposit spatially related to significant epithermal vein systems.
Regino said the project’s actual production is 3.1 billion pounds of copper throughout its 23-year mine life, around 5 million ounces of gold and nearly 10 million ounces of silver.
He expressed more confidence in raising money for the King-king project as the world needs more copper mines to keep up with the increasing demand for copper and the electric vehicle (EV) boom.
“The big advantage of projects like Kingking and Tampakan is that copper is really becoming a need because of [the] EV revolution and the increase in use of copper in each car is threefold,” Regino said.
“For sure, you will be needing copper to produce EVs and there is no other metal right now that is as good as copper. There is silver but it is a lot more expensive than copper so you’ll definitely need it for the EV revolution,” he added.