Miner to spend P35 billion in Mindanao project

A MINING venture led by Australia’s Red 5 Ltd. will invest P3.5 billion to start commercial operations in a gold mine in northern Mindanao, company officials said late Tuesday.

The mining permit holder Greenstone Resources Corp. will develop the 2,023.74-hectare Siana gold mine in the town of Mainit in Surigao del Norte, company managing director Greg Edwards said in a presentation to officials of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau last Tuesday

Construction will start before the end of the year after securing funds by June, the mining executive added.

Greenstone Resources is owned by Red 5, Merrill Crowe Corp., and Surigao Holdings and Investment Co.

The Siana gold project can produce 6.69 million metric tons of ore, with an average 5.2 grams of gold per metric ton, and equivalent to 1.122 million ounces of gold and 2.095 ounces of silver.

It is adjacent to the Boyongan copper and gold project of listed Philex Mining Corp., the country’s biggest miner.

"[Red 5] is a publicly listed company in Australia so 30% to 40% of the funds will be sourced from equity and roughly 60% to 70% from borrowings from financial institutions and [from] outside the country," Lolot Manigsaca, Philippine comptroller of Greenstone Resources, said in an interview.

The investment might go up to P5.8 billion to maximize the 12-year mine life. Taxes to be paid to the national and local governments are estimated to reach P6.8833 billion.

Employment will go up to 700 during the development phase and down to 500 during operations. The mine has 90 workers so far.

Mr. Edwards said Greenstone Resources had spent $30 million during the five-year exploration of the Siana mine, which had underground and open pit operations dating back to 1938. — Neil Jerome C. Morales, Business World

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