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Century Peak to put up P7-B smelting facility

HAVING just listed by way of introduction on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Tuesday, mining firm Century Peak Metals Holdings Corp. is wasting no time in bringing operations up to speed as it expects to start the construction of its P7-billion smelting plant soon.

At the sidelines of the company’s listing ceremony in Makati City, Century Peak president and chief executive officer Wilfredo Keng said the initial phase will cost P2 billion, and will likely start construction within the year.

“We want to put up an integrated mining operation. And the initial phase will be the smelting plant,” said Keng.

According to the company’s website, the nickel pig iron smelting plant will be located in Isabel, Leyte. Keng said Century Peak expects to close the deal on the property “very soon” after which the firm can begin construction activities.

At present, the company’s nickel mining subsidiary Century Peak Corp. holds a mineral production sharing agreement covering a 4,000-hectare property in the Dinagat Islands and Albor, Dinagat province.

Keng said the company is targeting to produce 5,000 tons to 10,000 tons of pure nickel per year after the first phase of the smelting facility comes online. Peak operation will double nickel production to some 20,000 tons per year.

He said the smelting plant will allow the firm to generate profits despite depressed nickel prices.

“Even if price [of nickel] drops to $10,000 per ton, we still make money,” added the company executive. He said the nickel deposits also contain iron content which will translate to more value for the firm as the plant is said to utilize the extracted iron ore.

Apart from nickel and iron, Keng said the firm is also exploring other minerals such as chromite, gold and copper.

He said Century Peak also plans to acquire more properties for the mineral area while boosting exploration activities.

For now, the firm’s exploration site is only limited to between 500 hectares and 700 hectares, said Keng.

“We initially discovered that a deposit can go for 15 to 20 years in the Dinagat area. But we will still continue our exploration of the area,” he said.

Century Peak listed by way of introduction meaning it will not raise funds through this exercise. Companies taking this route, however, have certain advantages like gaining exposure as its shares can be traded on the exchange.

For now, Keng said Century Peak’s China-based affiliate will support the company during the initial stages of expansion.

Yesterday, the company listed 2,820,330,450 common shares, with a par value of P1 per share. These shares are listed under the First Board of the Exchange carrying an indicative reference opening price of P1 per share.

The PSE requires firms to conduct a follow-up initial public offering within a year of listing by introduction. (Business Mirror)

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