PHILEX MINING CORP. said its subsidiary, Silangan Mindanao Mining Co., Inc., has secured an additional $70-million loan to initiate operations for its Surigao del Norte mine, slated to commence by 2025.

“The signing of the agreement completes the total loan facility of $170 million needed to bring the Silangan Project into commercial operation by the first quarter of 2025,” the company said in a disclosure on Wednesday.

Philex Mining said that development works are ongoing for the Silangan copper and gold mine.

“Initial works at the tailing storage facilities have started, while the tendering process for the various packages of the process plant is ongoing,” it said.

“Packages for some of the long lead items needed for the process plant have already been awarded to various global suppliers,” it added.

In 2021, the company placed development cost at $224 million for an estimated 571 tons worth of mineral resources.

The project will initially process 2,000 tons of ore per day until it reaches 12,000 tons, or four million tons annually, upon its completion.

The lenders were Philippine National Bank (PNB), Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM), and Security Bank Corp. It had tapped SB Capital Investment Corp. as the mandated lead arranger, while PNB and PBCOM were joint lead arrangers.

Last year, the company signed an $100-million Omnibus Loan and Security Agreement with Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP), Security Bank, and Bank of the Philippine Islands. It had BDO Capital and Investment Corp. as mandated lead arranger and UBP as co-lead arranger.

“The Silangan Copper and Gold Project is touted as one of the Big Three mining projects in the country and is targeted to commence commercial operations by the first quarter of 2025,” Philex Mining said.

Philex Mining is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and PLDT Inc. 

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.

Shares in Philex Mining closed P2.96 apiece on Wednesday, down by 1.5%. — Adrian H. Halili