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Philippines copper-gold mine start delayed by four years

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Global Mining Review,

As reported by Reuters, Philippine copper and gold producer Philex Mining Corp today announced the start of output at its Silangan copper and gold mine in the south of the country would be delayed by four years until 2022, as a result of a national ban on new open-pit mining.

Silangan could be Philex’s biggest source of revenue after its 61-year-old Padcal mine in the north is expected to close in 2022.

Silangan was originally slated to begin production by 2018, but that has been set back by a ban on new open-pit mining introduced in 2017 as the government in one of the world’s top copper, gold and nickel producers tries to step up environmental protection.

Philex said in a statement on Friday that it was now looking at an infrastructure design that would allow it to use underground mining to extract ores.

“We are currently working on securing all requisite permits and approvals to operate Silangan,” said Eulalio Austin, CEO. “We look forward to realising the massive potential of a project of this magnitude.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned he might declare a total ban on open-pit mining as he ordered mining companies to reforest denuded sites.

Silangan consists of three deposit areas - Boyongan, Bayugo and Kalayaan - with the latter a joint venture with Manila Mining Corp. Boyongan is expected to be the first to operate, by 2022.

Silangan’s development was previously estimated to cost US$1.2 billion, based on open-pit extraction. Philex did not give any new estimate for the cost of the project.

Padcal accounted for 9% of gold output in the Philippines last year at 29 782 kg, and 20% of its copper concentrate production at 282 391 t.

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