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Anglo eyes 3 RP areas for copper, gold

Global miner Anglo American Plc. is looking to explore copper and gold in the northern Philippines after selling its stake in a gold and copper project in southern Mindanao island, a senior official said on Wednesday.

"We've been focusing on greenfield exploration in northern Philippines," Roderick Watt, exploration manager for the Philippine unit of the London-listed miner, told reporters on the sidelines of a mining conference.

"Currently, we're looking at properties in Apayao, Abra and Mangkayan. We think it looks promising."

There was no initial estimate on the amount of reserves in the 3 properties, which cover around 24,000 hectares, Watt said.

Anglo earlier sold its 50% share in the Boyongan gold and copper venture in Surigao del Norte province to Philippine partner Philex Mining Corp. for $55 million, following differences in their assessment of the viability of the project.

The Philippines is targeting its mining sector, one of the world's largest and most lucrative in the early 1970s, to attract up to $14 billion in investments by 2013.

But only around $2.4 billion has flowed in since 2004 due to communist insurgencies, disputes with communities and local partners, legal uncertainties and opposition from the Catholic Church.

With the global economy showing signs of recovery, "minerals development remains an optimistic opportunity", said Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza.

Atienza said he was confident the $14 billion goal would be achieved, with the biggest Philippine mining project -- the Tampakan copper-gold project controlled by Xstrata -- on track to start production in 2016. (abs-cbnnews.com)

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