MANILA, Philippines — The extension of the lifespan of  the Padcal Mine in Benguet will allow Philex Mining Corp. to continue employing 1,831 employees.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Philex said the extended life of the Padcal mine would support the social development of the host local government units (LGU) and neighboring communities, especially in this time of Covid-19 pandemic.

Based on the company’s website, Philex said around 15,000 people live within the host community and in nearby towns and rely largely on the mining operations as the engine of socio-economic activities.

Padcal also houses the Sto. Nino Hospital and Sto. Nino Chapel, as well as private educational institutions Philex Mines Elementary School and St. Louis High School-Philex.

Philex announced the extension of the lifespan of the Padcal mine after the completion of confirmatory drilling and related technical studies on the mining methodology and tailings storage facility (TSF) no. 3, successfully identified that there are additional mineable reserves in its Padcal Mine that are feasible for mining from the end of 2022.

“The additional mineable reserves are expected to be mined over two years, extending the life of the mine until Dec. 31, 2024,” Philex said.

The updated remaining mineable reserves as of end-March are estimated at 30.2 million tons, with average gold and copper grades of 0.23 grams per ton (g/t) and 0.18 percent, respectively.

“This new estimate includes additional reserves of 16.2 million tons from the previously declared estimated mineable reserves as of end 2020 of 17.4 million tons with an average gold and copper grades of 0.27 g/t and 0.18 percent that was reported in February 2021,”the company said.

The Padcal mine has been in operation since 1958 and is the first underground block cave operation in the Far East. The mine has been producing copper concentrates, with gold and silver as by-products.

Philex said the latest mineable reserves estimate was undertaken by Engr. Ricardo Dolipas II, an accredited competent person by the Philippine Society of Mining Engineers (PSEM) under the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code (PMRC) guidelines.

“The company is currently processing all required permits and other regulatory requirements in connection with this impending life of mine extension,” Philex said.

It said the life extension of the mine would also give the company more time to bring the Silangan project to development and commissioning stages.