MANILA, Philippines — Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. is investing in a gold mining project in Itogon, Benguet as it gears up for the expansion of its Padcal Mine.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, Philex said it signed a 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.

The term sheet was signed by Philex Mining chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and president and CEO Eulalio Austin Jr. while Macawiwili shareholders were represented by Michael Escaler, Jose Ma. Lopez, and Felicisimo Feria.

“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,” Austin said.

With over 800 hectares of contract area under its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), Macawiwili has been exploring various mineral deposits, including gold and copper, for several decades.

Philex Mining said the term sheet “outlines the parties’ clear intentions to explore commercial, financial, and technical avenues in preparation for possible shares acquisition by the company in MGMDCI.”

Kicking off this partnership includes the conduct of due diligence and scout drilling activities on the property of Macawiwili covered by the MPSA, which is located adjacent to the existing Padcal Mine.

“We need to hit the ground with this at the soonest possible time, 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,” Austin said.

Meanwhile, Pangilinan said the Macawiwili project 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,” he said.

Pangilinan emphasized that “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.”

Last month, Philex Mining extended the life of its Padcal mine by another three years up to 2027 after confirmatory drilling yielded additional mineable reserves.

The completed confirmatory drillings on the ore body and technical studies on the mining methodology and tailings storage facility No. 3 successfully identified additional mineable reserves of 24 million tons in its Padcal mine.

At an annual production rate of 8.1 million tons, Padcal mine’s life is extended by three years to Dec. 31, 2027.

As of end-October last year, the Padcal mine had an estimated mineral resource of about 230.4 million tons with an average grade of 0.29 grams per ton (g/t) and 0.18 percent for gold and copper, respectively.

Based on the updated remaining mineable reserves as of end-October, Padcal mine is estimated to have 42 million tons with an average gold and copper grades of 0.22 grams per ton (g/t) and 0.17 percent, respectively.

The total recoverable gold is estimated to be 233,000 ounces while the total recoverable copper is estimated to be 127.4 million pounds.