With the regulatory environment turning more favorable for the mining industry, tycoon Manuel Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. has initiated expansion plans this year with a bid to acquire its neighboring Macawiwili gold mine.

In a disclosure on Monday, Philex Mining said it had signed a nonbinding term sheet with Macawiwili Gold Mining and Development Co. Inc. (MGMDCI), a 90-year-old company engaged in mineral exploration and production in Itogon, Benguet. This is to explore commercial, financial and technical avenues in preparation for potential acquisition of an interest in MGMDCI.

“Activities to kick off this partnership will include conduct of due diligence and scout drilling activities on the property of MGMDCI covered by mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) in Itogon, Benguet province, located adjacent to the existing Padcal Mine of the company,” said the country’s largest gold producer.

800-hectare site

MGMDCI, according to the listed firm, has more than 800 hectares of contract under its MPSA.

Philex Mining, for its part, has been exploring various mineral deposits, including gold and copper, for several decades.

“Our interest to pursue investments in the Macawiwili property is part of our business direction for this year to broaden interest in ‘green metals’ through mergers and acquisitions,” Philex Mining president and CEO Eulalio Austin Jr. said.

“We need to hit the ground with this at the soonest possible time,” said Austin, adding, “considering that this property is adjacent to our Padcal mine and would go a long way in fulfilling company plans for expansion and extension of the life-of-mine of Padcal.”

Last December, Philex Mining announced the extension of the life span of Padcal mine until end-2027 as internal studies showed the area could still yield a considerable amount of mineral resources that could boost earnings.

“This is a good addition or extension to the Padcal Mine. I hope that this is the start of something good and that it would ride the wave of higher metal prices in gold and copper,” Philex Mining chair Manuel Pangilinan said.

Expanding footprint

Pangilinan added, “Any addition, expansion, or extension to the Padcal Mine would greatly benefit not just our employees and their families, but also our host and neighboring communities, and our nation as a whole.”

Padcal mine, located in Tuba, Benguet, commenced operations in 1958. It was supposed to cease operations by end-2024 after several extensions to its mining life. It said the decision to acquire a neighboring mine was in response to the global demand for green metals and the government’s call for mineral resource development to be a driver for national growth and economic recovery.

Unlike the Duterte administration which had shut down many of the country’s mining sites amid environmental concerns, the Marcos administration is more inclined to unlock the potential of the local mining industry.

The Philippines is the fifth most mineralized country in the world with about $1 trillion worth of untapped copper, gold, nickel, zinc and silver reserves. INQ

Source: https://business.inquirer.net/383565/philex-eyes-neighboring-macawiwili-gold-mine