TUBA, Benguet – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently approved the declaration of mining project feasibility (DMPF) of the Philex-owned Silangan Mindanao Mining Co., Inc. and authorized the mining company to proceed with the development and operating periods of its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) for its gold and copper mine project in Tubod, Surigao del Norte.
Engr. Eulalio Austin, Philex president and chief executive officer, said the DMPF is one of the major requirements required for the SMMCI to start the ground works for its full blast operations in 2018.
However, he disclosed the company is still working on the bankable feasibility study for its gold and copper project to allow them to be able to loan or look for potential partners to raise the $1.2 billion funding requirements for their gold and copper project in the mineral-rich area of Surigao del Norte.
“Our company cannot finance the gold and copper project alone. We need to loan or look for fresh funds in order to put in place the project,” Austin stressed.
Austin said the bankable feasibility study of its Surigao gold and copper project will be completed by October this year so that the company start looking for possible partners or avail of loans that would finance part of the capital requirements to achieve the goal of fully operating the mine in the next three years.
According to him, the company projects to start tailing with the banks and possibly closing financing agreements with financiers by the end of this year or early next year in order to guarantee funding requirements once the mine will be in full operation.
Philex’s Silangan project has an estimated reserves of 5 billion pounds of copper and 9 million ounces of gold which has been project3ed to sustain its 25-year mine life.
Austin explained their Surigao del Norte gold and copper project is expected to start production in 2018 and become a key revenue generator for Philex after its Padcal mine here closes in 2020.
The Philex executive explained the company is looking at 70 percent borrowing, 30 percent equity funding mix for the P52 billion or $1.2 billion funding requirements for the Silangan project.
Austin claimed the DENR approval of its DMPF is considered to be a significant step towards working on the development and operating stages of the mine life in preparation for the projected full blast operation of the Silangan project, one of Philex’s potential income source once its Padcal mine here will no longer be allowed to extend its operation.
He added explorations are underway within the vicinity of its Padcal mine here in order to discover more mineral reserves which will be feasible in possibly extending the projected mine life of Philex for another 25 years and that results of the explorations will be released the soonest.
He claimed the company is doing its best to locate added mineral reserves within the vicinity of its existing mine site in order to extend its operation for the benefits of its host and neighboring communities as well as the sustained growth of the country’s mineral industry as it is one of the major economic driver of both local and national economy. By Dexter A. See