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Miner gets 25-year concession over state limestone asset

Listed Century Peak Metals Holdings Corp. has won a 25-year contract for a limestone project in Central Visayas, the miner told the stock exchange yesterday.

Century Peak said a Notice of Award from the state-run Philippine Mining Development Corp. (PMDC) was given to subsidiary Century Peak Corp. “to undertake the exploration, development and mining operations of PMDC’s Pinamungahan limestone property” on Dec. 1.
The quarrying project, located in the towns of Toledo and Pinamungahan in Cebu, covers 4,795 hectares.

Century Peak President and Chief Executive Wilfredo D. Keng said the limestone project would complement a nickel processing venture in the province of Dinagat Island.

“Our intention is to [put up] a cement plant because in the [nickel] smelting plant, we have lots of waste that can be used in a cement plant,” Mr. Keng told BusinessWorld.

Particularly, low-grade nickel pig iron can be used to make hollow blocks or cement, he said.

“We have to do more exploration to confirm the deposits there,” Mr. Keng said in a phone interview.

Jaime T. De Veyra, PMDC vice-president and chairman of the firm’s Bids and Awards Committee, concurred.

Century Peak should first conduct exploration as “there is not much technical data there,” Mr. De Veyra said in a separate phone interview.

If the limestone project goes into commercial operation, PMDC will get a 3% royalty on gross sales.

PMDC data show the miner will invest P510,000 upon signing the operating contract and another P510,000 in the next 12 months, for the exploration of the limestone property.

The PMDC is the Environment department’s corporate arm tasked to “monitor and oversee the effective development of the government’s mineral resources.”

Late last month, the Century Peak signed a deal for United Kingdom-based Gem Global Yield Fund Ltd. and Global Emerging Markets Investment Advisors, Inc. to invest as much as P2.9 billion in the company’s mining projects.

Shares in Century Peak, which also has nickel projects in Zambales and Palawan, were last traded at P7.00 apiece yesterday, up from P6.70 each on Tuesday and P1.00 each when it listed by introduction in the local bourse on Oct. 7. -- Neil Jerome C. Morales, Business World
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