Philex profit buoyed by higher prices

Philex profit buoyed by higher prices

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Philex Mining Corporation generated a

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core net income of P1.69 billion last year, two percent higher than the P1.66 billion earned in 2016, while reported net income rose six percent to P1.66 billion from P1.57 billion.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Philex said 2017 metal output was affected by boulder ore, lower ore grades and other production-related issues as tonnage dropped to 8.67 million tons from 9.36 million tons.

The ore grades were at 0.377 grams per ton from 0.417 g/t in 2016 for gold and 0.192 percent from 0.206 percent for copper.

Gold output for 2017 reached 84,638 ounces from 103,304 ounces in 2016 while 2017 copper output totaled 30.1 million pounds from 35.0 million pounds in the previous year.

While overall output was lower for the year, the last four months of 2017 showed a 15 percent improvement in tonnage compared with the average in the first eight months due to engineering interventions and additional manpower. These measures partially addressed the issues that affected production from January-August, 2017.

Despite lower metal output, 2017 gold revenue amounted to P5.43 billion (from P6.21 billion) as prices improved to $1,273 per ounce from $1,254 per ounce in 2016.

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Philex posts 6% profit growth to P1.66B

Philex posts 6% profit growth to P1.66B

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Despite a lower output, Philex Mining Corp. posted a 6-percent increase in net income to P1.66 billion last year from P1.57 billion a year ago due to higher metal prices.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock

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Exchange, Philex said volume of mining operations reached 8.76 million tons, down 7.3 percent from 9.36 million tons in 2016. Gold output for 2017 reached 84,638 ounces while copper output totaled 30.1 million pounds. Ore grades were also lower during the period.

Nonetheless, Philex’s gold revenue amounted to P5.43 billion as prices improved to $1,273 an ounce from $1,254 a year ago. Copper sales reached P4.48 billion as prices also increased to $2.96 a pound from $2.35. Silver generated P77.2 million from P86.5 million in 2016.

Operating revenues fell to P9.98 billion from P10.27 billion. However, a 16-percent reduction in expenses to P1.71 billion contributed to the company’s revenue growth.

Philex recently adopted strict global standards set by the Mining Association of Canada in partnership with the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.

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Weak peso, copper revenue boost Philex’s income in 2017

Weak peso, copper revenue boost Philex’s income in 2017

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PHILEX Mining Corp., the country’s biggest gold producer, pointed to copper as the driver of its growth last year as revenue and most output of ores it mine declined last year. The company, led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, was also apparently saved by a weak peso.

In its disclosure on Wednesday to the

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local bourse, Philex said its gold production in 2017 reached 84,638 ounces, 18.07 percent lower than the 103,304 ounces registered volume in 2016.

Meanwhile, its total copper output last year fell by 14 percent to 30.1 million pounds, from 2016 recorded output of 35 million pounds.

The company attributed the decline in its metal output to lower ore grades mined and other production-related issues, as its total tonnage in 2017 fell by 7.32 percent year-on-year to 8.673 million metric tons.

The firm said average ore grade mined last year fell to 0.377 gram per metric ton for gold, from 0.417 gram per MT in 2016, while copper grade declined slightly to 0.192 percent from 0.206 percent.

“While overall output was lower for the year, the last four months of 2017 showed a 15-percent improvement in tonnage compared with the average in the first eight months due to engineering interventions and additional manpower,” Philex said in a statement. “These measures partially addressed the issues that affected production from January to August 2017.”

Despite the lower metal output, its total revenue from copper last year reached P4.475 billion, 12.55 percent higher than the P3.976 billion recorded in 2016.

Meanwhile, its gold revenue declined by 12.51 percent to P5.432 billion, from P6.209 billion recorded in 2016, despite better global prices. Philex said its revenues from silver production also posted a 10.75-percent decline to P77.2 million.

Total operating revenue last year amounted to P9.985 billion, which is 2.79 percent lower than the P10.272 billion in 2016, according to Philex.

Philex said it was able to see a reduction in consolidated costs and expenses in 2017 by 1.76 percent to P6.778 billion, from P6.9 billion recorded in 2016.

“In particular, cash production costs were P4.412 billion, from P4.614 billion in 2016, as the cost of power, contracts and other expenses showed a combined 16-percent reduction to P1.708 billion,” Philex said. In 2016 the cost of power, contracts and other expenses hit P2.041 billion.

Meanwhile, Philex said its general and administrative expenses decreased for the fourth straight year to P363 million, 2.68 percent lower than the P373 million spent in 2016, “due to sustained spend management and cost-rationalization programs.”

The firm’s foreign-exchange losses due to the depreciation of Philippine peso against the greenback narrowed to P39.5 million, from P145.2 million in 2016.

“As a result, reported net income improved by 6 percent to P1.658 billion, while core net income rose by 2 percent to P1.686 billion due mainly to lower cash costs and other charges,” Philex said.

In 2016 Philex reported a net income of P1.567 billion, while core net income that year was at P1.657 billion.

“With 2017’s financial performance, the company sustained the increase in net income for the fifth consecutive year since 2012, amid volatile metal prices and a challenging regulatory environment,” Philex added. 

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Philex delivers P14-M infra projects in Itogon

Philex delivers P14-M infra projects in Itogon

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PHILEX Mining Corp. is set to turn over by the end of the year almost P14 million worth of infrastructure projects—ranging from concrete road and retaining wall to drainage canal and grouted riprap with parapet wall to health center and science laboratory—to its host town of Itogon in this province.

Covering the company’s social-program accomplishments for the second and third quarters, the 33 projects were implemented in the town’s host barangay of Ampucao and the neighboring barangay of Dalupirip, Roy Mangali, AV Pat Philex Mining and assistant resident manager at Padcal mine, said.

“Community development is our way of telling our host and neighboring communities that Philex Mining really cares for them,” he added, stressing that a report on the projects to be turned over to another of the two host towns—Tuba—is still being finalized.“And we’re just talking about public infrastructure here. Of course, we have other community projects, such as health, education, livelihood, and environmental protection.”

In a report prepared by Jamal Agustin, coordinator for public infrastructure at Padcal mine, Philex Mining’s gold-and-copper operations in Benguet, the construction of the Barangay Disaster Risk Management Center, in Brgy. Ampucao’s Sitio Ampucao Proper, was the biggest project at P1.5 million, followed by the renovation of the science laboratory building at the Laurencio Fianza National High School, in Brgy. Dalupirip, to the tune of P1.2 million.

Last August, Philex Mining turned over P6 million worth of (five) infrastructure projects—under its 2016 annual budget allocation—to Brgy. Ampucao in formal ceremonies graced by Benguet Gov. Crescencio Pacalso, Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan, and other government officials.

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Philex hopeful on lifting ban on open pit mining

Philex hopeful on lifting ban on open pit mining

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MANILA, Philippines — Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. is scouting for potential investors for its $2 billion Silangan copper and gold project as it is optimistic that the government will lift the ban on open pit mining this quarter.

“We are hoping that the ban will be lifted in the  first quarter. Secretary (Roy Cimatu) said they would be studying it,” Silangan Mindanao Mining Co. Inc. chief operating officer Mike Toledo said in a recent interview with The STAR.

The lifting of the open pit ban is expected to fasttrack the entry of possible investors for Philex’s next big prospective mine in Surigao del Norte.

“Once it is lifted, we will immediately proceed with our pre-development works, “ said Toledo, who also sits as senior vice president at Philex Public and Regulatory Affairs.

“Investors are looking at legal and regulatory framework and I could sense that they are more inclined to invest but they are just waiting for the right announcement. Once that it is lifted, we can actually proceed,” he said.

“We are now talking to banks and others. There are already interested people who are just waiting for the government to lift the ban on open pit mining,” Toledo added.

 

The Silangan project, which may start production by late next year or early-2020, will conduct open pit mining for the first 10 years followed by the underground method.

“This is safer, environmentally and financially sound. While we are doing underground, we can already do rehabilitation (in the open pit). This is what we presented  to the MICC (Mining Industry Coordinating Council) and they saw why open pit is the most viable option,” Toledo said.

The Silangan project is seen to replace the Padcal copper-gold mine in Benguet, whose mine life is expected to end by December 2022.

The company 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.

By 2020, the Silangan project is forecast to generate P170 billion in revenues, P31 billion in national and local taxes and at least 8,000 employment opportunities for 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.

It is among the biggest prospective open-pit mines in the country.

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Toward sustainable mining and the baguio declaration

Toward sustainable mining and the baguio declaration

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Mike About Town

December 19 will go down in history as a “watershed moment” for the mining industry, as this was the day that gave witness to the signing of two very important documents: one, between the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) and the Mining Association of Canada (MAC); and, the other, between the COMP and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

A week after then-Davao Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte won the Presidency  in the 2016 national elections, our Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and I met him in Davao where, among other things, he iterated his challenge to the mining industry to adhere to strict international standards, particularly that of Australia and Canada.

COMP Chairman Gerard Brimo (3rd from left) and MAC President and CEO Pierre Gratton (3rd from right), witnessed by Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines HE John Holmes (2nd from right) and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu (2ndfrom left). Also in photo are: COMP TSM Committee Chairman Eulalio Austin Jr. (leftmost); MAC VP Ben Chalmers (rightmost); (standing, from left) COMP Trustee Isidro Consunji; COMP Communications Chairman Atty. Michael Toledo; COMP Trustees Jose Leviste Jr., Isidro Alcantara Jr., Joaquin Lagonera, Martin Zamora, and Higo Toru.

Thus, Philex Mining Corporation embarked on this crusade to  search for what these other strict international standards were, as a response to President Duterte’s challenge.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu

Not that Philex was inadequate in this regard. On the contrary, Philex had already clearly established itself as a responsible mining company. It already had its Integrated Management System (IMS) certification, which incorporated both ISO 14001:2004 on environmental management system and OHSAS 18001:2007 for occupational health and safety management, way before the DENR requirement for ISO certification. 

Its Silangan Mindanao mining project already got ISO 14001: 2004 certification even before it commenced actual mining operations.

Philex had also garnered numerous awards in corporate governance and leadership here and abroad, like the ASEAN Good Governance Award where it was #1 in the Philippines, including the Philippine Stock Exchange Bell Awards where it has consistently been part of the country’s Top 50 publicly-listed corporations (PLCs) – one of the few, if not the only, mining companies to have achieved such feat. 

Despite all these, however, Philex wanted to seek out other strict standards to comply with, to leave no stone unturned (no pun intended) where excellence in mining was concerned.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and COMP Chairman Gerard Brimo

Philex came across the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative of the Mining Association of Canada which the latter launched in 2004. It was mandatory for all MAC members to their respective Canadian operations, but many of them also applied it to their international projects. 

But because TSM can only be adopted as a standard by a national mining association such as the COMP – as was the case in Finland, Argentina, and Botswana – Philex President and CEO Euls Austin Jr. proposed it to the then-COMP Board of Directors. The COMP Board approved it, and the movement towards its adoption started and snowballed. 

With COMP TSM Committee Chairman and Philex Mining Corporation’s CEO Eulalio Austin Jr. and Canadian Ambassador John Holmes

On December 19, the COMP under its new Chairman, Nickel Asia Corporation President and CEO Jerry Brimo, signed the mutual cooperation and licensing agreement with the MAC as represented by its President and CEO Pierre Gratton who, together with MAC VP Ben Chalmers, flew all the way to Manila from Canada not just to sign the agreement but to also conduct a two-day training to select representatives from COMP member companies on the TSM. 

The signing was also witnessed by my good friend, the Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency John Holmes. In Canada, as I have seen for myself, mining, tourism and agriculture are not mutually exclusive. They thrive together. In fact, it was mining that developed Canada into a powerhouse economy. 

With COMP TSM Committee Chairman Eulalio Austin Jr., Philex Mining Corporation’s Vice-President for Legal and Data Protection Officer Atty. Joan De Venecia and COMP’s Jo Mendoza

If the Canadians and the Australians can do it, then so can we.

In the same breath last November, at the Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference in Baguio City, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu delivered a keynote speech that challenged the mining industry to be a greater contributor to national development, to “go beyond responsible mining”. In response, the COMP has issued this manifesto called the Baguio Declaration which is its commitment to responsible minerals development and, thus, national development in the country.

Thus, on the same day as the TSM agreement signing, representatives of COMP member companies came forward and signed the Baguio Declaration which consists of five main elements of responsible minerals development: that of being people-oriented; protecting and enhancing the environment; respecting the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples; contributing its fair share to the national economy; and of being efficient, competitive, compliant with international standards.

Make no mistake about it, though. Many COMP members, like Philex Mining, have already incorporated these key principles into their operations since way back. 

MAC President and CEO Pierre Gratton

In fact, just recently, both Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation and Oceana Gold (Philippines) Inc. won the 1st ASEAN Mineral Awards, once again proving that the Philippines is tops in mineral development. 

What the Baguio Declaration does is formalize these key principles into a manifesto and institutionalize them in the Chamber.

With these two documents the COMP is well on the right track towards going beyond responsible mining and policing its ranks. Mining is a serious and scientific business, and should be treated with the level of seriousness and science that it deserves. Given the opportunity, it can still be a driver in economic development that contributes substantially towards nation-building under the Duterte administration.

On that very positive note, I greet one and all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

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Philex supports ‘National Cleanup Month’

Philex supports ‘National Cleanup Month’

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TUBA, Benguet – Supporting the government’s celebration of September as the National Cleanup Month, Padcal mine has cleaned up a river at its mine camp that it also “adopted” as part of its environmental-protection program, with officials and employees collecting rubbish from the riverbed and planting bamboos along the riverbanks.

About 90 personnel from Padcal mine’s 15 departments participated in the cleanup of and planting of 200 seedlings of tinik, bayog, and giant bamboos at the Sal-angan River, in Itogon’s Brgy. Ampucao, on Saturday, Sept. 16. Itogon and Tuba are the host towns of the company’s gold-and-copper operations in this province.

“That’s how we do things around here—always bring any environmental-protection project or an event a notch higher,” said Eduardo Aratas, manager of Padcal’s Legal Division, who participated in the cleanup and tree-planting drive, which was also part of the government’s International Coastal Cleanup Weekend Celebration. “Not only did we rid the river of rubbish, but also plant trees.”

In a Sept. 11 letter to Manuel Agcaoili, SVP at Philex Mining and resident manager of Padcal, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), of CAR, or Cordillera Administrative Region, in Baguio City, said, “We would like to request your participation in the Orchestrated Cleanup in the region of rivers, creeks, and waterways. Please participate in the cleanup of your respective adopted waterbody…”

Julius Bayogan, manager of Padcal’s Environmental Quality, Monitoring and Evaluation Dept. (EQMED), said the cleanup of Sal-angan River and other waterways at the mine camp has been a regular activity for Philex Mining, which has been in the forefront of environmental protection and community development over the past more than six decades of practicing responsible mining conscientiously.

He said the 90 Padcal personnel had collected 15 sacks of rubbish from the riverbed, eight sacks of which were residual wastes, four sacks of plastic bottles, two sacks of tin cans, one sack of various rubber items like slippers, hoses, and boots.

“Those items that were recyclable have been donated to the residents in nearby villages, while the residual wastes had been brought to our sanitary landfill at the decommissioned and rehabilitated TSF2, or Tailings Storage Facility No. 2, also in Brgy. Ampucao,” added Bayogan, who led the four-hour cleanup of the 2-kilometer Sal-angan River. 

He explained that residual wastes include what remains of agricultural, industrial, and mining materials after a treatment process, as well as household trash that cannot be reused or recycled.

On Sept. 19, 2016, Bayogan also led the general cleanup of the Sal-angan River—Padcal’s water source for its mill operation—where the volunteers collected 465 kilograms of waste, 382.5 kg. of which were residual, 45 kg. were biodegradable, and 37.5 kg. were recyclable.

He said the Sal-angan River was “adopted” years ago by Philex Mining to be part of its cleanup drive of waterways and other surroundings at the mine camp.

Last year’s event was also in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Bayan Ko, Linis Ko” (“My Country, My Cleanup”), which promoted cleanliness in coastal and inland waterways, creeks, public places, and private establishments nationwide.

 

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Philex seeks investors for Silangan mine

Philex seeks investors for Silangan mine

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MANILA, Philippines — Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. is now looking for potential investors for the company’s $2-billion Silangan copper and gold project as the government is leaning towards lifting the open-pit ban issued by former environment chief Gina Lopez.

While the open pit ban has not been lifted, Philex Mining president and chief executive officer Eulalio Austin Jr. said the company is scouting possible investors for Philex’s next big prospective mine in Surigao del Norte with an investment opportunity of P40 billion.

“We are starting the legwork on searching for investors. We are now gathering a pool, which will be the possible investors and financiers. We are looking for equity investors,” Austin told The STAR on sidelines of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines briefing Monday.

He added that the lifting of the ban would fasttrack the search for potential investors and would encourage more investors to put in their money for the gold and copper project.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) are now discussing the lifting of the ban. The MGB maintained that the ban has no legal basis and was not mandated by any mining law.

“It will help improve the value of the project. We are granted an income tax holiday and the longer it will be delayed, the more we lose on the opportunity,” Austin said.

Philex is already working on attaching the pre-feasibility study of the underground mining to the definitive feasibility study of the open pit mining.

“First project is open pit then after mining for 10 years, we do underground. We are now trying to maximize the value of the asset, the value if we add underground. Investors would definitely ask that,” Austin said.

The Philex chief also thumbed down the latest proposed bill in Congress that may require mining firms to obtain a legislative franchise before they begin operations.

The bill also proposes the shortening of the duration of mineral agreements from 25 years to 10 years.

“In my thinking, it cannot be. We have vested rights, we have an MPSA (mineral production sharing agreement) that is approved already and that is a binding contract,” Austin said.

“The worry is if once the MPSA expires, assuming the bill will be approved, we don’t know if we will be covered. In the MPSA, once your MPSA expires, you are given the privilege to renew it for another 25 years. Shortening that would mean violating the contract,” he added.

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Philex gives free health-insurance coverage

Philex gives free health-insurance coverage

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TUBA, Benguet—Philex Mining Corp. has granted health-insurance coverage to 620 families to the tune of P1.48 million, bringing to P3.4 million the total amount of coverage given to the indigent residents in the outlying communities of its Padcal mine in this province over the past four years.

“We received and still continue to receive so many requests for free health insurance from residents in our host and neighboring villages, and granting them such is our way of being in the frontline of  humanized, conscientious and responsible mining,” said Aurora Dolipas, manager at Padcal’s Community Relations (ComRel) Department

ComRel’s Crisel Rosado and Mila Salinas, who are part of a team that screens and processes applications for free health insurance, said Philex Mining shelled out P897,600 for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., (PhilHealth) coverage of 374 individuals last year; P655,200 for 273 beneficiaries in 2015; and P366,000 for 183 people in 2014 when the project was launched.

They said that spouses and children of the respective beneficiaries were given the same free health-insurance coverage, the funds of which were taken from Padcal’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), one of the three major corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects being pursued by Philex Mining in line with its adherence to conscientious and responsible mining.

The company is mandated to allot 1.5 percent of its previous year’s total operating expenses for the current year’s SDMP; Information, Education and Communications (IEC) campaign; and Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG). Of the total allocated budget, SDMP gets the lion’s share of 75 percent, while IEC is given 15 percent, and DMTG, 10 percent.

Padcal, the company’s sole operating mine, has two barangays—Camp 3 in Tuba and Ampucao in Itogon—for its host communities, as well as three neighboring villages, namely: Camp 1 and Ansagan (both in Tuba) and Itogon’s Dalupirip.

These five barangays, with a total population of more than 27,000 in 7,896 households, are collectively referred to as outlying communities.

Rosado and Salinas said that of this year’s total beneficiaries, 285 are residents of Barangay Camp 3 while 200 are in Barangay  Ampucao, 50 in Barangay  Ansagan, 45 in Barangay Camp 1 and 40 in Barangay  Dalupirip.

As part of its health projects under SDMP, Philex Mining has held medical and dental missions to remote villages, bringing doctors, dentists and nurses to the doorsteps of their less fortunate stakeholders and spending hundreds of thousands of pesos for medicines in each visit.

Between 2003 and 2015 alone, Philex Mining had spent P25.2 million for its health-care program in its host and neighboring villages. The company had also constructed health-care centers and sanitary facilities in the outlying communities.

By: Mauricio Victa

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Philex pays tribute to scholars, allots P14M budget

Philex pays tribute to scholars, allots P14M budget

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TUBA, Benguet – One youth talked about having self-discipline and the right attitude in school while another said about parents being his inspiration while studying, and another believing that you would reach your goal if you worked hard for it.

They were all recent graduates from college—beneficiaries of scholarship grants from Philex Mining Corp., which for this year has P14.4 million for deserving students—talking before the company’s current scholars. The latter were also regaled and inspired by the other speakers, notably the guest of honor, with their respective stories from their student days and on life lessons.

“Your goal will guide you,” Norman Alberto, a high-school teacher and a 2005 graduate of the Benguet State University (BSU), in the provincial capital of La Trinidad, said during formal ceremonies titled “Philex Salutes the Scholars: A Tribute Program for the Graduates.” “It will lead you to the right way, he added. “So you need to have a goal in your life.”

Held Thursday, July 27, at the Smith Hall of Philex Mining’s Padcal mine, in Tuba’s Sitio Padcal, Brgy. Camp 3, the event had for its main speaker Andrew Macalma, dean of Student Affairs Office, Saint Louis University, in Baguio City, who was all praises for the scholars, saying, “I hope that you will remain and continue to become better every day. He added, “You only have not given your parents hope, but also a promise that life would be better.”

He reminded them, however, to listen and treat everybody fairly, no matter their status in life. “It is when you have reached this kind of mindset that you become a gift to others and to society,” said Macalma, who enlivened about 30 scholars and their parents, as well as government officials and other guests with his critique of “outliers” and “vincular.”

In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success, he said, where the author discusses what makes some people achieve high levels of success, it is repeatedly mentioned that the key to obtaining world-class expertise in any skill is practicing this the correct way for a total of around 10,000 hours, thus the “10,000-Hour Rule.” Macalma was quick to remind the scholars, however, about the need to connect (a vincular or link) with and a man for others, even if, as scholars, they are some sort of outliers or a cut above the rest.

“Be of help to others,” says Macalma, who gushes at the lush vegetation around a well-developed Padcal community, brought about by over six decades of responsible mining, and reveals that this is his third visit in the mine camp, the first of which was almost 30 years ago. “You must have a ‘conscious conscientiousness.’ ” He adds, “Even when you cook rice or egg, do it like a scholar.” And despite being scarred nowadays by a number of social factors like corruption and deceit, he told the scholars to be an inspiration to anyone, anywhere, and whenever—and make many others realize that, “Even with small people, big dreams are possible.”

Aurora Dolipas, manager of Community Relations (ComRel) Dept. at Padcal, said 24 college scholars graduated this year in various disciplines, and seven other scholars finished their technical-vocational (TechVoc) courses. She added that the screening for some of this year’s scholars is still ongoing.

The company is also providing scholarships to 90 students in senior high school (Grades 11 & 12) and 140 students in junior high school (Grades 7 – 10). Educational subsidies, on the other hand, is set for awarding to 200 high-school students and 300 elementary pupils.

Last year, Philex Mining allotted P11.8 million for its 114 college scholars, 24 TechVoc students, 374 students in elementary and high school who received educational subsidies, and 130 secondary students who were given education assistance (monthly monetary allowance).

These scholarship grants are being funded through Philex Mining’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) as well as its Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG), which, together with the Information, Education and Communications (IEC) campaign, are funded 1.5 per cent of the company’s previous year’s total operating expenses.

Abraham Banos, a mechanical engineer from SLU (2016), said in his testimonial that he’d made his parents as his inspiration while he was studying, as “I’d always wanted to be an engineer.” As his face lit up with fond memories of his student days, he told the scholars: “If we have dreams, we must take action!” For her part, Florina Liwan, a mining engineer who also graduated from SLU last year, told the scholars to work hard and “be whatever you want to be.”

Addressing the event, Victorio Palangdan, mayor of Itogon, one of the two Benguet towns (the other being Tuba) hosting the Padcal operations, spoke of Philex Mining as a dutiful taxpayer, telling the scholars to be thankful to the company that has helped them pursue their studies. He said, “Philex Mining has also implemented a lot of social projects through its SDMP.”

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