Mining firm project reserves seen worth $22B

THE COUNTRY’S biggest miner, Philex Mining Corp. yesterday said its Silangan project in the province of Surigao del Norte is estimated to contain copper and gold reserves worth at least $22 billion, with exploration works in the adjacent mine expected to enhance the project.

In a disclosure to the local bourse, the miner said that SRK Perth, Australia, prepared the independent mineral resource estimates for the project.

The miner said the combined measured and indicated resources in the site contain an estimated metal content of five billion pounds of copper and nine million ounces of gold.

Philex said the resource estimates were based on verified drill results from over 80,000 meters of drilling it completed in June of last year.

The 5,184-hectare Silangan copper and gold mine is adjacent to the Kalayaan site.

Philex finalized an agreement with Manila Mining Corp. for the exploration and development of the 286.6-hectare Kalayaan mine in May.

Philex said yesterday the exploration works in the Kalayaan site are expected to further enhance the value of the Silangan project.

“We are excited about the Silangan project and the prospects of further exploration into the Kalayaan tenement,” Philex Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan was quoted as saying in the disclosure yesterday.

He said the project cost for developing Silangan is estimated to be more than $1 billion over a period of three years.

“It will be a significant project and will probably be one of the most important for Mindanao in terms of promoting economic development,” he said further.

Shares in Philex last traded at P20 apiece yesterday, up 4.6% from the previous day.

First Pacific, a majority owner of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), is the single largest shareholder in Philex Mining with around 46.4% stake.

Mediaquest Holdings, Inc., a unit of the Beneficial Trust Fund of PLDT, has a minority stake in BusinessWorld. -- Louella D. Desiderio, BusinessWorld

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