BIZ BUZZ: Going for gold: Tampakan lures new investors

BIZ BUZZ: Going for gold: Tampakan lures new investors

/ 02:34 AM July 11, 2024

Nearly a decade since picking up the Tampakan mining project when nobody wanted to touch it with a 10-foot pole, is the Sy family still keen on keeping Southeast Asia’s biggest untapped gold-copper reserve in its portfolio of noncore businesses?

Amid the buoyant prices of gold in the global market and with a national government that’s much more open to mining, we heard that many groups have indicated interest to take over the South Cotabato mine. The project is being developed by Sagittarius Mines, Inc., owned by Indophil Resources Phils. Inc., which has always indicated that it’s open to bringing in new investors.

But is the Sy family willing to sell, along with its partner, the Consunji family ahead of the start of commercial operations of Tampakan (estimated by 2026)?


READ: Tampakan gold mine to operate by 2026


It’s not far-fetched, industry sources said, depending on how attractive the offers are on the table. In particular, there’s a Chinese group that has made overtures.

“I think they are getting tired of LGU (local government unit) interference,” said one industry observer.

Open pit mining has been a big debate in South Cotabato. To recall, the pullout of Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining firm Glencore Plc in 2015 was caused by the ban on open pit mining. It had been lifted in 2022 by the provincial board only to be vetoed by the governor two weeks after. Thus, while much had been achieved by Sagittarius under the leadership of Gilbert Teodoro Jr. before joining the Marcos Cabinet as defense secretary, many “roadblocks” are still seen ahead.

If the Sy family decides to unload without waiting to start full commercial operations, we can be sure that they will still be richly rewarded for parking some of their funds in this storied mining project.—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Brownout? It’s raffle time!

Here in Iloilo City, MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) has out-of-the-box ideas to make sure you won’t despair in darkness.

The Razon Group’s power distributor holds a barangay caravan to give solace to communities that have to deal with power outage.


“When there is a scheduled brownout, let’s say, in certain barangays, we actually do raffle …,” MORE Power president and CEO Roel Castro said. Here are some items up for grabs: a kilo of rice, chopping board, heat pad, wooden spoon, glass pitcher, tote bag and mask.

READ: MORE Power invests P115 million to improve power services

But only MORE Power customers who have settled their electricity bills and have no arrears with the distribution utility are eligible to win raffle items.

Aside from having a raffle, Castro said the company has a game or two up its sleeves such as “Bring Me” and “Hep Hep Hooray.” Sometimes, they do song and dance numbers to bring joy to affected customers.

“That is why after our [power] interruption, the other barangays will ask, where is our schedule?” he added.—Jordeene B. Lagare

Supporting PH economy

Cebu Pacific is confident that the air travel boom will only get bigger in the coming years. The budget airline is so optimistic that it sealed the largest aircraft order in Philippine aviation history last week.

The P1.4-trillion purchase order for up to 152 A321neo (new engine option) jets with Airbus is definitely an investment that anticipates healthy returns.

But more than minding its own growth, Cebu Pacific chair Lance Gokongwei said they want to lift the Philippine economy as well. After all, the travel industry supports revenue generation for tourism and retail sectors, among others.“Why are we buying the planes? It’s simple: We want to support growth in the Philippines with its 6-percent growth rate and the demographic dividend,” he said.

The low-cost carrier is expecting the delivery of the first batch of aircraft by 2028. —Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

New leadership at Phinma Foundation

The corporate social responsibility arm of diversified conglomerate Phinma Corp. has announced new leadership changes, marking major movements in its management coinciding with its 35th year celebration Phinma Foundation, Inc. (PFI) said that its board of directors has appointed Nicole “Nikki” del Rosario-Serafica as new president, succeeding Roberto “Bobby” Laviña, who will now serve as chair.

In turn, Laviña replaced Oscar Hilado, who is elevated to chair emeritus at the foundation.

A Master of Business Administration graduate of the Columbia Business School, Serafica deems her new role as “primarily a stewardship job” that allows her to harness the Phinma Group’s talent and treasure to improve the lives of Filipino families who have difficulty accessing the essentials for a dignified life.

Under her leadership, Serafica vowed not only to bolster PFI’s flagship program, Phinma National Scholarship, but also pursue meaningful contributions to community housing and the fight against child malnutrition and stunting.

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“These are new areas for us and so the first step would be to build a very good knowledge base, get to know the groups who are already doing significant work in these areas and find areas of alignment, avenues for collaboration,” she said. —Alden M. Monzon

TAGS: Biz Buzz, tampakan

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