MANILA, Philippines — One of the biggest mining projects in the country is expected to start attracting more investments after the government granted a 25-year extension to its contract, another move to spur economic growth amid the pandemic.

In a regulatory filing, Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources approved the renewal of its mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA).

The MPSA covers another 25 years of its wholly owned subsidiary, Silangan Mindanao Mining Co. Inc., operator of the $750-million Silangan copper and gold project in Surigao del Norte.


Philex president and CEO Eulalio Austin said the renewal is a welcome development after Philex faced headwinds this year due to the pandemic.

“We are currently looking for investors for our Silangan project and that extension of the term of the MPSA will provide security to possible investors as the current MPSA will expire in December 2024,” Austin told The STAR.


“The equity search is still ongoing and a financial advisor through Morgan Stanley is helping us on this,” he said.

Philex earlier said it needs to raise at least $350 million by the first half to be on track with the project. The $350 million will be raised as an equity and the balance of $400 million can be raised through loans.

This, however, did not materialize as the search for partners has become more challenging.

“We hope we could have the investors by the first half of 2021 and start the ball rolling,” Austin said.

The additional 25-year term will begin on Dec. 29, 2024 subject to the same terms and conditions provided under the previous MPSA. It covers the Boyongan deposit and is part of the Silangan project.

The first phase of the Boyongan deposit has an initial estimated mine life of 22 years. For the initial stage, Silangan is expected to yield high-grade mineable ore grades of 0.63 percent for copper and 1.20 grams per metric ton for gold.

The Silangan mine is a large-scale high grade copper-gold development, with a number of greenfield and brownfield components, located in Surigao del Norte in. It is one of three big-ticket mining projects seen to propel the Philippines as a major regional copper producer.

Silangan is seen giving the government some P4.5 billion in yearly revenues once operational.