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First Pac keen on Manila Mining

FIRST PACIFIC CO. Ltd. of Hong Kong is considering to invest not just in Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. but also in the Surigao del Norte mining operations of the latter’s affiliate Manila Mining Corp

Already the single biggest stockholder in the country’s largest mining firm Philex Mining Corp., First Pacific is looking at the entire spectrum of the local mining group’s assets, First Pacific executive chair Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on Friday.

“We just have to wait for the result of the due diligence because it has many components—Lepanto itself as a company, Manila Mining, which has [operations] in Surigao beside [Philex Mining’s] Boyongan [site],” Pangilinan said at the sidelines of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.’s annual stockholders’ meeting.

Asked what it was about businessman Felipe Yap’s mining interests that his group wanted, Pangilinan said: “If you put your Philex hat on, it’s the Manila Mining [site] in Surigao beside the Boyongan tenement of Philex, so we’ll be interested in exploring that.”

“There are many options. We can invest in Lepanto or just the mine in Surigao,” he said. Pangilinan also mentioned Lepanto’s subsidiary, Far Southeast Gold Resources Inc.

Asked how big a stake the First Pacific group would like to acquire, Pangilinan said nothing has been finalized. “What we want and what Felipe Yap wants must meet,” he said.

Pangilinan said First Pacific was still awaiting the results of a due-diligence audit, which would likely be finished in two week’s time.

“But I don’t know whether we need more time for more due diligence, so I can’t say that after two weeks we’ll make a decision. It depends on how good the due diligence process was,” he said.

Asked whether First Pacific was interested in other local mining companies in the Philippines, Pangilinan said he could not talk about it because First Pacific is a publicly listed company.

Shares of both Lepanto and Manila Mining have been going up in the past few months on talks of a potential buy-in by Pangilinan’s group. Doris C. Dumlao, inquirer.net

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