Surigao mine on hold, says Manila Mining

LISTED MANILA Mining Corp. will wait for economic conditions to rebound before moving forward with its gold and copper mine in Surigao del Norte, the head of the company said yesterday.

"[The Kalayaan mine] is on hold and so far we have not done anything at the moment," Felipe U. Yap, chairman and chief executive officer of Manila Mining, told reporters.

In November last year, Anglo American Philippines Holdings B.V. terminated a partnership with the miner in exploring the Kalayaan claim due to resistance from the local government and residents.

Under a 2007 agreement, the local unit of Australian miner Anglo American Plc., was to spend for the exploration of the 286.6-hectare property.

Anglo American already spent $10.82 million to drill 11 holes in 18 months.

Anglo had also withdrawn from the adjacent Boyongan gold and copper mine of Philex Mining Corp., claiming it was not bankable.

Philex wants to start commercial operations at Boyongan by 2014 to extend the company’s operations by up to 20 more years after its Padcal mine in Benguet gets exhausted.

Mr. Yap said that if Philex wants to acquire Kalayaan, "we are open [to negotiations]... our style is simple, we either we become partner or sell the mine."

Manila Mining is seeking to renew its environmental permit, which expired early this year.

The mining firm cut its net losses last year by more than half to P132.037 million from P276.979 million in 2007. (Business World)

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