MANILA, Philippines — Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. is proceeding with its $2-billion Silangan copper and gold project via the underground method.
In a regulatory filing, Philex said it would launch Silangan in four phases with the Boyongan set to commence maiden operations by 2022.
Definitive feasibility studies are underway and are expected to be completed in May this year.
“For now, mineral resource estimates are indicative of large high-grade gold and copper deposits within tenement scopes. In terms of methodology, Philex is planning an infrastructure design to employ underground sub-level cave mining for ore extraction,” Philex president and CEO Eulalio Austin Jr. said.
“We are currently working on securing all requisite permits and approvals to operate Silangan. We look forward to realizing the massive potential of a project of this magnitude,” he added.
The Silangan mine, situated in Surigao Del Norte, is considered one of three big-ticket projects seen to catapult the country to become a major copper producer.
Silangan’s tenements consist of three deposit areas – Boyongan, Bayugo and Kalayaan, with the latter representing a joint venture with Manila Mining Corp.
For Kalayaan, Philex holds the option to further increase its stake up to 60 percent in the project.
Since last year, Philex has been studying the viability of the project with the removal of the open pit method in the picture as the government has yet to decide on whether it will keep the ban or not.
The Silangan project is seen to replace the Padcal copper-gold mine in Benguet whose mine life is expected to end by December 2022.
Philex has invested over P13 billion for the initial exploration and related works on the site as of the end of 2014, on top of the estimated project cost of about $1.2 billion.
The Silangan project is estimated to generate P170 billion in revenues, P31 billion in national and local taxes and at least 8,000 employment opportunities in the first 10 years of operation.
Silangan is also expected to spend P6 billion over the same period for social development and infrastructure programs that will benefit Mindanao.