TUBA, Benguet – The prevailing high metal prices in the world market is a blessing that must be treasured by the concerned stakeholders to allow the continued operation of the Padcal mine of the Philex Mining Corporation, an executive of the company said here recently.
Philex president and chief executive officer Engr. Eulalio B. Austin, Jr. said that the high metal prices in the world market allow the company to operate amidst the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and producing copper and gold ore with marginal grades.
Philex extended its mine life up to the end of 2024 from the previous end of 2022 because of the prevailing high prices of copper and gold in the world market that started after the global lockdowns had eased up.
Austin expressed the company’s gratitude to both the management and labor union for settling the dispute that transpired during the negotiation for the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) thus preventing a standoff that could have resulted in a strike.
The Philex official explained that in a CBA negotiation, what matters is striking a balance of everything or a give and take situation, but a single party cannot win them all.
According to him, during the negotiation process, he heard of stories that even went to the extent of hurting the feelings of personalities but these must be set aside and for everyone to start moving on with the aim of sustaining the company’s continued operation until the projected end of its mine life.
He narrated that he was with Philex when the first strike happened several decades ago which started several days before Christmas and ended a few days after New Year that is why he does not want concerned stakeholders to experience the difficulty of undergoing a similar event in the company’s history during this pandemic as it will be much difficult for everyone if it happens.
Austin was one of the founding members of the Philex Mines Supervisors Union which earlier has a new CBA signed last year.
He disclosed that the company is continuously searching for ore bodies within its Padcal mine that may help in further extending its mine life beyond 2024 to allow the maximum utilization of the existing facilities of the mine and help in the sustainable development of its host and neighboring communities.
Aside from the possible further extension of its Padcal mine, Philex is also working on the development of its Silangan mine project in Surigao del Norte that requires some $224 million for its development and is projected to operate by early 2025.
Philex has been a constant awardee for responsible mining with its sustainable preservation and protection of the environment of its mine sites and ensuring the safety of the miners in the workplace through numerous programs, projects and activities thus ensuring its safe operations.