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DENR studies possible lifting of ban on open-pit mining

by Philippine Resources - June 22, 2021

OceanaGold's mine at Didipio. Photo: @OceanaGold via Twitter

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is still studying the possible lifting of the ban on open-pit mining, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that Executive Order No. 130, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 14, does not include a lifting of the ban on open-pit mining.

EO 130, which lifts the nine-year moratorium on mineral agreements, is to spur economic growth and support projects and programs of the government.

“There is nothing in the executive issuance on mining which is EO No. 130 which lifts the ban on open-pit mining. I have conferred with [DENR] USec. Benny Antiporda and he says the matter is still being studied by the DENR,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

He, however, reiterated that open-pit mining remains unacceptable for Duterte.

In November 2017, Duterte said he agreed with the open-pit mining ban given the environmental damage it causes.

Duterte, in his third State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) on July 23, 2018, also warned the mining industry not to destroy the environment, saying environmental protection is one of his government’s priorities.

“To the mining industry, I say this once again and maybe for the last time, do not destroy the environment or compromise our resources; repair what you have mismanaged,” Duterte said.

Roque reiterated Duterte’s call to the mining industry to find other ways to extract minerals without destroying the environment.

“But I understand from USec. Benny Antiporda that both the President and Secretary [Roy] Cimatu agreed that the mining industry must reinvent mining in a manner that would ensure that it is sustainable and would cost the least damage to the environment,” he added.

Open-pit mining is allowed under Philippine law, but Duterte has rejected previous recommendations to lift the ban.

The Philippines is the world’s biggest supplier of nickel ore and also among the top producers of copper and gold. - Azer Parrocha

 

Article Courtesy of the Philippine News Agency



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Mining

Marcelle P. Villegas - March 17, 2021

The Aftermath of the Carmen Copper Mine Landslide

After the tragic landslide that occurred at the open pit’s north wall at around 4:15 p.m. on Monday, 21 Dec. 2020,  Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 ordered the immediate suspension of the mine operations in Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC). According to MGB’s report last 22 Dec. 2020 on their official website, they stated “Initial investigations revealed there was no mining activity in the area on that day.” [1] On that day, landslide debris fell on the water at the pit bottom. This has an elevation of 41m above sea level. The landslide created a tsunami-like wave that reached an elevation of 105m in the southern portion of the pit where the workers were located. On 22 Dec. 2020, four fatalities were recorded along with six missing. [1] Further on, an assessment of the area was conducted by Director Pacquito Melicor Jr. (DENR Central Visayas Regional Executive Director), Director Armando Malicse (MGB 7 Regional Director), MGB Region 7 team, and Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division. CCC and Toledo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management team continued their search and retrieval operations on a limited scale due to unstable condition. MGB 7 technical personnel continues its on-site inspection and investigation in accordance with R.A. 7942 (Philippine Mining Act of 1995) and the DENR Administrative Order Nos. 2010-21 (Consolidated IRR of RA 7942) and 2000-98 (Mine Safety and Health Standards). [1] A list of names of workers who died was given by CCC to the Toledo Police Station Chief, Lt. Col. Junnel Caadlawon. The second list contains the names of those who are still missing. [2] Those who died from the landslide are the following: Junil S. Lagola, age 44, from Barangay Don Andres Soriano, leadman Ernesto G. Caspe, age 54, from Dasmamac, Lutopan, checker Juan M. Tapang, age 44, from Don Andres Soriano Village, heavy equipment operator Dionisio Labang, from barangay Uling, Naga, backhoe operator/Anseca Contractor Those who are still missing are the following: Jose B. Carpentero, age 31, from Barangay Biga, heavy equipment operator from Mine Services Department Jonwel S. Herediano, age 33, from Barangay Don Andres Soriano, pump operator Simeon B. Laconas, age 33, from Barangay Biga, leadman - mine services department John Paul L. Resuelo, age 27, from Barangay Biga, heavy equipment operator Renante F. Sepada, age 35, from Barangay Bagakay, pump operator Alfred C. Tautho, age 33, from Barangay Mainggit, welder Carmen Copper Corp. (CCC) expressed their support and commitment to provide free education until college and allowances to all the children of its employees who died or are still missing after the tragedy last December. Based on a press statement of the company last 27 Dec. 2020, they have provided various forms of financial and other assistance to the immediate families of its deceased workers. [3] Additionally, CCC also offered employment opportunities for the victims’ next of kin, spouse and children. “CCC has given the same attention to the immediate family of the missing CCC employees and will afford them of the same commitments CCC provided to the family of the deceased,” according to the company’s statement. CCC also extended support to the family of the contractor who was among the victims. [3] On 8 Feb. 2021, Toledo City Mayor, Hon. Marjorie Piczon-Perales along with Vice-Mayor Jay B. Go met the families of the victims at the open shed of the City Hall Garden to provide them with “ayuda” or financial assistance. This was posted on the Toledo City Public Information Office social media page. The mayor granted the families of deceased workers the amount of Php15 million. For the victims who are injured, they were given Php5 million. Additionally, they were all given food packs. [4] On 29 Jan. 2021, the Office of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go distributed assistance to the Toledo City residents who were affected by the landslide in CCC mine. This was held at the Carmen Copper Recreation Center, Toledo City, Cebu. During the distribution, 248 families received meals, financial assistance, food packs, vitamins, face masks and face shields. Senator Go also gave bicycles and shoes to selected recipients, and computer tablets for their children to be used for online classes. Health and safety protocols were strictly implemented to avoid the further spread of COVID-19. The Senator was not present during the distribution but he sent them a video message with words of encouragement. [5] Senator Go also offered assistance to those who needed major medical operations such as heart surgeries. He urged those in need of such medical attention to seek assistance from any of the Malasakit Centers in the province. [5] While the local and national government along with CCC are busy sending assistance to the families of the victims of the December landslide, mining industry in general received backlashes from various groups who believe that the deaths and injuries could have been prevented. Barely a month before the landslide, there had been reports from residents of Barangay Biga in Toledo City who claim they warned officials of the MGB Central Visayas and CCC as well about large cracks in the village prior to the landslide. However, they said that their appeal was not properly addressed. [6] Biga Barangay Captian Pedro Sepada Jr. told a local newspaper in Cebu last 29 Dec. 2020 that prior to the landslide, barangay officials called for an emergency consultative meeting on 26 Nov. 2020 with representatives of CCC, MGB 7 and Biga residents to talk about the possible measures to be done after the cracks were discovered. Sepada said that MGB 7 Director Armando Malicse and CCC Vice President for Safety, Ignas Alburo were present. No representative from the Toledo City government was present. Sepada noted that during the meeting, they were not given a concrete response or alternative solution by CCC or MGB to provide assurance to the residents that they will all be safe while mining operations are ongoing. But Sepada said that they were simply told by MGB 7 and CCC officials that their place remained safe. [6] According to the local news reports in Toledo City, residents now believe the huge cracks caused the fatal landslide.      “It was only after the landslide last Dec. 21, that they declared our area to be unsafe within a radius of 600-meter distance from the pipeline of Carmen Copper. They now say it’s unsafe. What happened to their guarantee of safety before?” [6] Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said last December that they shall leave the investigation to MGB before implementing any course of action. She mentioned that she will leave it up to the MGB 7 to decide whether or not CCC has any liability.  Garcia said, “The investigation is not our expertise nor is that our mandate. MGB has already issued a suspension of operations and MGB is going to undertake the investigation. So let’s put things in proper perspective. While the investigation is ongoing, perhaps it is best to wait for the results.” [6] “I am not taking any sides. I want to be as objective as possible. However, there are some personalities who are not as objective because they have their own interest in Carmen Copper. They want to control so that they can do business with Carmen Copper. This is a warning to those who want to make it difficult.” Garcia also noted that CCC mining operations have given so much to Toledo City in terms of employment and the city’s development. She said that a thorough investigation is needed in order to prevent those with “personal interest” in the mining operations of CCC from ruining the lives of so many people working there. [6] Garcia assured the Province will provide assistance and support to the families of miners who died and those who remain missing after the landslide. [6] Renester P. Suraltra, a college professor wrote a commentary last December on SunStar Cebu with the title “Toledo tragedy: The untold story”. He wrote, “Who is always responsible for any mining accident? Is it nature or man? Who is at fault? Is it the bad weather or the safety engineer?” “Accidents may happen in the workplace but it can also be avoided. We can’t discount the fact that accidents can happen because of unsafe supervision, lack of situation awareness, and failure to identify the potential threat. That’s the job of the safety engineer under the direction and supervision of sympathetic and responsible management. If workers are dying frequently then responsible mining is a big issue.” “There is another lesson to be learned in the Toledo mining tragedy. We should never compromise safety and security. We can’t always blame nature out of man’s folly. One should think that the mining industry provides short-term revenue but long-term harmful effect on nature and the environment. Life is much precious than copper and gold.” [7] Acknowledgement: Ryan Peter Vivo Penaranda for Cebuano to English translation from some news articles   Reference: [1] Mines and Geosciences Bureau Press Release (22 Dec. 2020)."Carmen Copper Mine In-Pit Landslide Incident". [2] ANV (23 Dec. 2020). SunStar Cebu. "Listahan sa namatay, missing sa Carmen pit gipagawas". [3] WBS and PR (27 Dec. 2020). SunStar Cebu. "Carmen Copper Corp. commits to help landslide victims' families".  [4] Toledo City Public Information Office Facebook Page (8 Feb. 2021). "Families of the victims of the land in Biga Pit Gitagaan ug ayuda in Toledo". [5] Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Facebook Page (31 Jan. 2021). "Hundreds of Toledo City, Cebu residents affected by a copper mine landslide receive assistance from Senator Bong Go". [6] Sabalo, Wenilyn (30 Dec. 2020). SunStar Cebu. "Biga chief claims please ignored before landslide". Retrieved from - https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1881418/Cebu/Local-News/Biga-chief-claims-pleas-ignored-before-landslide [7] Suralta, Renester P. (27 Dec. 2020). SunStar Cebu. "Tell it to SunStar: Toledo tragedy: The untold story". Retrieved from - https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1881194

Mining

Marcelle P. Villegas - March 17, 2021

First Offshore Magnetite Iron Mining in the PH

Last December, Apollo Global Capital’s (PSE: APL) subsidiary, JDVC Resources Corporation, announced that Department of Environment and Natural Resources granted them a permit to start the commercial operations of the country’s first offshore magnetite iron mining project. According to JDVC and APL consultant, Jun Herrera, the mining operations in Cagayan are expected to start by mid or end of February. He said that the first newly-built deep sea mining vessel arrived in Cagayan and needed to take shelter for now due to strong sea currents. In relation to this project, they assured the government that there will be minimal impact on the marine ecosystem as per the studies and survey conducted by a Singapore-based company. Their study shows that there is no coral or aquamarine life within the mining area which is located 150 meters below sea level. Herrera stated that three more vessels are expected to arrive this year. The vessel is capable of commercial extraction, sampling, testing and production of magnetite iron. [1] With regards to the apprehension of some residents of Ballesteros in Cagayan that this offshore mining operation will destroy the coral ecosystem, APL addressed the issue by stating that such assumption by the locals has no basis. APL stated last January, “We won’t even be mining in their waters. In the first place, our mining operation will be in the waters of Buguey and Gonzaga towns, and at a distance of over 14 kilometers. That’s more than two horizon lengths away from the shoreline.” Lazaro Ramos, a resident of Ballesteros, sent a formal complaint to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu. Ramos warned them of the possible “catastrophe” that the offshore mining will bring about should it resumes. He mentioned in comparison a study conducted by Craig Smith from the University of Hawaii regarding the ocean seabed in the NE Pacific abyssal waters. APL, however, contradicted this argument by Ramos and said that the study by Craig Smith is applicable to a different part of the ocean and not necessarily comparable with the mining site in Cagayan.  “That’s a different part of the Pacific. It looks at the ocean bed more than 200 meters below sea level, whereas we can only go down to 150 meters with current technology. Moreover, the Smith study did not look at magnetite iron reserves. From the experience of countries like Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand, magnetite iron is known to be toxic to corals, fish and other aquamarine life.” Moreover, JDVC emphasised on the study results done by the Singapore-based survey company whom they commissioned to conduct a full “sea bottom profile” of its mining tenements off Cagayan. As mentioned, their study reveals no corals or aquamarine life in the area. APL also reported that they have done their part in coordinating with the locals and providing corporate social responsibility activities for the residents of Buguey and Gonzaga. “We’re proud to say that over 90 percent of the residents support us and are even anxious for us to get started.” According to Herrera, the municipalities of Aparri, Buguey and Gonzaga received funding from the Development Bank of the Philippines. These are the municipalities covered by the mining project. DBP grated JDVC a grant worth $8-million credit line for the magnetite iron mining project.   Herrera said, “We have proven to them [DBP] that it’s environmentally safe.” He added, “The DBP loan has zero borrowings yet as of now, hence, our company remains to be zero debts and internally funded by our shareholders. The DBP loan will only kick off once we have the letter of credit presented to the bank for the discounting the letter of credit of export buyers, to obtain a 90-day working capital, to fund the production of the ordered iron ore.” This project is seen as profitable, because magnetite mining has a strong market globally. In China, for example, they consider the steel industry as their “roadmap for their economic recovery”. Herrera mentioned that JVDC is an ISO-certified company. This means that there is an assurance that they shall comply with environmental standards. With all these assurances of a promising mining project ahead, some still have apprehension about it, perhaps rooting down to past incidents. In November 2020, the Cagayan Valley region was greatly affected by the Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses. The two simultaneous typhoons are classified as category-5 and category-4 tropical cyclones respectively. As an effect, the devastation was great marked by massive flooding in Isabela and Cagayan provinces. [2] The residents in those areas blame the National Irrigation Association (NIA) for the flood when they opened the floodgates of the nearby Magat Dam on the last minute. The two provinces were submerged in high waters as high as a two-storey building. NIA on the other hand firmly contradicted such claim and explained that the release of water from Magat Dam was not the main cause of flooding. NIA points out that proper and sufficient warnings were given to those communities in low-lying areas. Additionally, they stated that the volume of water released was only 25% of the carrying capacity of the Cagayan River. The river is the longest stream in the Philippines that serves as the catch basin of the nine provinces in three regions. [2] Aside from the two typhoons, a second issue related with the river was about the illegal magnetite mining at the mouth of the Cagayan River in the municipality of Aparri. The provincial board of Cagayan appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019 to stop the dredging operations of Pacific Offshore Exploration, Inc. (POEI) due to potential threat to the environment and the livelihood of the locals. The Chinese company Zhong Hai Gravel Group headed by Dong Biao Su is POEI’s partner in that operation. The company was controversial recently after the Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Coast Guard raided its Zhonhai 68 dredging vessel during a maritime security patrol off the Bataan coast. “Bureau of Customs are poised to issue a warrant of seizure and detention against the undocumented vessel.” However, the Chinese Embassy in Manila claimed that the vessel is technically non-Chinese because it is registered under an African flag of convenience. [2] Currently, JDVC Resources Corp. is the first and only company that was granted a declaration of mining project feasibility by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to extract magnetite sand and other minerals in Cagayan. In response to Cagayan’s decade-old black sand mining problem, the launching of Cagayan River Rehabilitation Project last February 2 is seen to solve the problem. DENR stated early in February that mining regulations will strictly monitor the extraction of magnetite or black sand in the coastal waters and rivers of Cagayan province. [3] With regards to APL’s/JDVC Resources Corp.’s offshore magnetite iron mining, MGB Director Wilfredo Monaco stated the project has gone through an environmental impact assessment system processes and the company has secured an environmental clearance certificate (ECC) from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). [3]  “JDVC has undergone environmental impact assessment and the company was issued an ECC, which means environmental issues have been considered by the EMB,” Moncano stated. Magnetite or black sand mining is supposed to be banned in the Philippines, but Moncano explained that the extraction of the said mineral offshore is allowed. He said, “Mining in shoreline is prohibited but offshore mining is allowed.  If it is at least 1,500 meters from the shoreline going out to the sea, it is allowed.” He also assured that the company’s operation will be monitored by the MGB and EMB, that in case of any destruction or damage to the coastal or marine ecosystem by JDVC Resources Corp., there will be a corresponding penalty under the mining law. “What is important is that the JDVC will not cause damage to the coastal or marine ecosystem,” he said. As for mining in rivers like in the Cagayan River, it is also allowed as long as the primary purpose of the project is river rehabilitation or restoration. One example is their plan to extract some 7 million metric tons of sand to remove three of the 19 sandbars along is stretch. Moncano said that the DENR-MGB will also monitor the dredging operations because while the activity is primarily flood mitigation, the minerals to be extracted include magnetite sand. [3] Moncano stated, “Black sand mining is also part of the purposes that’s why we will assess the mineral content of the river channel. If the magnetite sand contained surpasses the threshold of 6 percent, we will charge the company of 4-percent excise tax.” He said that every shipment will undergo mineral assessment. (--Marcelle P. Villegas, PRJ) References: [1] Flores, Alena Mae S. (31 Jan. 2021). Manila Standard. "Apollo Global announces subsidiary’s start of magnetite mining operations in Cagayan". [2] Gamboa, J. Albert (5 Feb. 2021). Business World. "Building back better in Cagayan Valley". [3] Mayuga, Jonathan L. (4 Feb. 2021). Business Mirror. "MGB exec vows to keep tabs of Cagayan River magnetite quarry operations set to start in February".

Mining

Marcelle P. Villegas - March 12, 2019

How wars and historical events affected the mining industry

By Marcelle P. Villegas For the past centuries, the mining industry in the Philippines was greatly affected by the changes of government or colonisers, events around the world and more. It seems that whenever there is war, there is also a rise in the demand in certain mineral resources or a fall in the production rate of some minerals. August is History Month in the Philippines as promoted by Government and Education sectors. The Philippines is rich in natural resources, cultural heritage and more noticeably, we are rich in history which brought progress or hindrance in economic growth through the years. Last August, during the Philippine Mining and Exploration Association (PMEA) Monthly Membership Meeting, one of the keynote speakers is Mr Hernulfo “Nonoy” Ruelo, Geologist Consultant. The title of his presentation is “Copper-Gold Discoveries and Mine in the Philippines - Understanding the Past, in order to make sense of the Current, and the Future”. It was a well-researched report and analysis on how historical events, like wars or change in leaders, affected the mining sector and the socio-economic status of the country. The presentation takes us back in time with some rare vintage photos from the past. During the pre-Spanish Period, the earliest use of metal in the Philippines by our Filipino ancestors was the use of copper for ornamentation, not for tools or currency. Other metals used were gold and tumbaga (copper alloyed with gold). “Gold was the major form of ‘currency’ among the early Filipinos and one of the first things they [ancestors] taught their children was the knowledge of gold and the weights with which they measured.” (From the book by Evelyn J. Caballero, 1996. “Gold from the Gods: Traditional small-scale miners in the Philippines”. Giraffe Books, Quezon City.( p 196 and 263) On note, the pre-colonial mining methods had no environmental impact on land, water, air and people. Pre-Spanish Period Mining in the Philippines started in the 3rd century when gold was traded with China and the Javanese empire where the height of this trade was during 12th to 14th century. The Chinese were the first foreign miners. Gold is both a commodity and a medium of exchange. When the Spaniards arrived in the 1521, gold was already being mined, traded and used as jewelry or ornamentation by the native Filipinos. In fact, 16th century Filipino noblemen were decked in gold. Colonial Period Under Spain 1500s - 1898: Paracale and Cordillera were the oldest goldfields. From 1500s - 1700s, gold was one of the tributes collected by the Spanish government and given to the King of Spain. In 1583 and 1595, an expedition was sent to mine in Cordillera but was a failure due to the resistance of the Igorots. “Gold mining before the coming of the Americans was primarily in the hands of enterprises organized in the Philippines by Spaniards and Chinese mestizos and Filipinos, with a few other companies trying, without success, to produce commercially.” (Ref. - Wirkus 1974) In 1600 to 1700, about 10,000 ounces of gold per annum were shipped to Spain, and the gold shipments to Spain increased from 1800 to 1895. For copper, the Spaniards opened the first copper mine in the country in 1842, called the Carawisan copper mine in Antique province. From 1864 to 1874, the Contrabro-Filipino Company operated Mankayan Copper Mine. Gold mining made its comeback in commerce in 1892 where concessions to foreigners were first granted. The British explorer, Frank Karuth of Philippine Mineral Syndicate, led the commercial-scale hard-rock and alluvial gold operations in Paracale District until 1895. (Ref. - Chaput 1987) Philippine Revolution 1896 – 1902: With the rise of the Philippine revolt against Spain, in 1896, mining operations at Paracale dwindled until 1902 when the Filipino-American War ended. The Organic Act of 1902 was created which organized companies, issued patents, and established the Geological & Mining Science Department. By 1927, gold was the third best export commodity and initiated by the Philippine (Manila) Stock Exchange. In the following years, the Mining Act of 1935 was released (Commonwealth Act 137) which introduced the Regalian Doctrine, the concept of Mining Lease, and the establishment of Bureau of Mines. The Americans invested US$ 34.2M in gold production. Mining for copper was reopened in 1936, the same time when the Japanese savvy for copper was high and led to the ‘discovery’ of the first large porphyry copper deposit in the country. Commonwealth Period 1937 - 1941: This period in Philippine history was considered a golden era when Manila was highly modernised and was one of the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia. In fact, in 1937, we had the best and well-equipped airport in the Southeast Asia, the Nielson Airport. (This is now Ayala Triangle Park in Makati City, and the original Nielson Tower is now “Blackbird” Restaurant.) Although this elegant airport was primary used as an aviation school, it also paved the way for trade and commerce for foreign investors. Philippine Airline made its first commercial flight in 1941, from Nielson Airport to Baguio. The Philippines was the largest gold producer in Asia and second only to California in world production. During the American period, 9 million oz of gold was produced from 1906 – 1941. Japanese Occupation 1942 – 1945: Being a colony of United States of America, the Philippines got itself involved in war against the Japanese who invaded Manila in 1942. The Japanese took over Lepanto and the Hixbar mines (Rapu-rapu) and was able to mine and extract 11,000 tonnes of copper. No gold production was recorded. With the aggressive strategies of conquering their neighboring countries, Japan was unstoppable that time in their collection of natural resources that were needed to fuel their warships and planes and the production of weapons. Battleships Musashi and Yamato where the two giants in naval power that made Japan feared by other nations. The two battleships were defeated though in the Philippines during the Battle in Leyte Gulf in October 1945 which paved the way to the Liberation of Manila and eventually the whole country. Post-war Reconstruction 1946 – 1954: Those post-war years were hard times for all war-torn countries. However, with the need for repairs infrastructure after WWII, there was an increase in the global demand for copper. Some gold mines in the Philippines were rehabilitated but the problems were lack of capital and low market demand. Copper production re-started in 1947. Since Manila was the ground zero and battlefield of the war that ended WWII in the Pacific (Battle of Manila in 1945), there were serious damages in the country’s economy and on the mining industry. Korean War 1954 – 1960: For the Filipino soldiers who fought the Japanese during WWII, the Korean War was the first time for them to fight a battle in a foreign land. Although this war affected Southeast Asia directly, the gold prices maintained. However, in mid 1950s, the gold mines collapsed due to a recession period. The copper price rose slight due to high world demand. More Philippine copper mines opened. Vietnam War 1960-1975: In 1972, U.S. President Nixon took dollar off the gold standard. It was fixed at $35 since 1934, but gold prices are allowed to float free which devalued dollar to $38. In 1973, world gold price jumped from $38 to $120. World copper rate hit high at $0.90 in 1974. World copper mine production was at its peak. Martial Law 1972 - 1986: During Martial Law in the Philippines, copper price trended upward where the country’s copper production continued and boomed in 1980 where it reached its peak. It was in 1980 when Philippine copper production was recorded the highest at 306 Kt. However, the World Oil Crisis in 1973 - 1980 brought about a decline in copper demand. World Recession in 1982 – 1984 pulled down the copper prices. Philippine inflation devalued the Philippine peso and there was an increase in production costs, materials and equipment. The Global recession resulted in a decline in copper demand. The Philippine gold production was sustained and gold prices surged from 1978 to 1980. The modern Gold Bloom in 1980s brought about the rise of unregulated Small Scale Mining. In summary, the explanatory variables of growth and decline in PH copper industry in the 1950s-1980s are: - For Copper resources: risk capital or investments, development in the world’s copper market, technology, human capital in mining, domestic social, legal, and political environment . - For the gold industry: gold resources, competition, commodity price, production costs, technology (bulk mining, milling, treatment), damages – natural & man-made disasters (Reference). T.M. Santos 2001 . Growth of Copper Production: Determinants and Empirical Evidence. Social Science Diliman, July-December 2001. 2:2, 1-49.) There were other historical events in the Philippines that followed like: EDSA Revolution: 1986-1992 - gold averaged $381, copper $1.02 – There was investment uncertainty and several mines closed. New mining laws were crafted like the 1991 RA 7076 (Small Scale Mining Act). The 1987 Constitution replaced Leasehold into Agreements system. From 1990s – 2004, there was collapse of the local mining industry. However from 2004 – 2009, there was a revitalization of the mining industry with EO 270 National Policy Agenda – Mineral Action Plan. Gold price surged from $410 to $873. Copper production hit lowest in 2004 at 16 Kt since 1957. The year 2005 brought global gold boom where Philippine gold-copper mines had expansion and reopening. The Aquino Administration from 2010-2016 was within the Global Mining Boom period (2010 - 2013). It was a successful period for Philippine mine exploration, prospect drill-testing, and resource evaluation drilling. In conclusion, Mr Ruelo presented a list of challenges that miners will need to face at the present time, namely: - Fewer outcropping “easy-to-find” deposits are now left except in high-risk and “inaccessible” areas. - Current mining operations will encounter increasing real costs (labor, materials, energy, environmental, community impact) that will affect production. - The next generation of lower-grade copper/gold projects require significantly higher metal prices to justify development. - We need to discover high-quality or better gold/copper resources, even deeper ones that can be economically mined – e.g. in greenfields and brownfields.

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Mining

Philippine Resources - August 03, 2021

OceanaGold Provides Didipio Update and Q2 2021 Financial Results

OceanaGold Corporation reported its financial and operational results for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. Michael Holmes, President and CEO of OceanaGold said, “I am very pleased with the operational and financial performance of the business in the second quarter 2021. Haile delivered a record quarter of gold production and is well on-track to deliver on the full year production guidance. Waihi plant upgrades were completed, and we 2 commenced continuous milling late in the second quarter which is a tremendous outcome as we continue to ramp-up underground operations.” “Based on year-to-date performance we have refined our expectations for the full year. We currently expect consolidated production of 350,000 to 370,000 gold ounces at AISC of $1,200 to $1,250 per gold ounce sold at cash costs of $825 to $875 per ounce sold. Strong first half performance at Haile has put us firmly on track to deliver ahead of 160,000 gold ounces for the full year at moderately higher AISC, largely driven by an increased proportion of mining costs capitalised as pre-strip plus higher than expected mining costs incurred. On the other hand, a softer first half at Macraes is driving production to the lower end of guidance of 155,000 to 165,000 gold ounces for the full year at consequently higher AISC. Waihi is firmly on-track and production guidance remains unchanged but at improved costs. We expect to provide updated consolidated guidance in-line with the staged restart of Didipio over the coming weeks.” “Renewal of the FTAA at Didipio was one of our key priorities this year, and I’m extremely proud to say we delivered. The staged restart of the asset is underway with the current focus on the rehire and training of our skilled Philippine workforce. We expect to restart processing well prior to year-end, initially sourcing mill feed from existing stockpiles at site. Our expectation is to also transport and sell approximately 18,500 gold ounces and 3,500 tonnes of copper in concentrate on site by early fourth quarter. The rehire and retraining of the workforce, as well as the ongoing risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, could impact the timeline associated with returning to full underground production of 1.6Mtpa, which could take up to 12 months. Operations In the first half of the year, the Company produced 177,039 ounces of gold, a 27% increase over the same period in 2020 due to record production at Haile in the second quarter, resumption of campaign processing at Waihi, and limited impacts from COVID-19. Second quarter gold production of 93,848 ounces of gold reflects record production at Haile of 57,240 ounces. Consolidated AISC of $1,227 per ounce sold YTD and $1,226 per ounce sold in the second quarter were relatively flat over the prior year and previous quarter. Cash costs for the first half of the year of $734 per gold ounce and $764 per ounce in the second quarter, decreased 22% and 11%, respectively. The improvement in cash costs primarily reflects lower operating costs at Haile from productivity improvements made year-over-year Haile, USA Haile delivered a record second quarter of 57,240 gold ounces resulting in 101,581 gold ounces produced in the first half of the year. AISC and cash costs improved significantly, benefitting from higher gold sales and lower overall cash costs from productivity improvements. AISC and cash costs for the second quarter were $922 and $615 per ounce, a decrease of 7% and 22%, respectively, quarter-on-quarter. YTD AISC and cash costs were $953 per ounce and $684 per ounce, respectively, down approximately 36% over the prior year period. Unit mining and milling cost decreased quarter-on-quarter, and increased 9% and 36%, respectively, YTD over the prior year period. Second quarter decreases reflect lower maintenance activities on the mining fleet and higher mill feed following milling disruptions from the first quarter; YTD increases are attributable to higher maintenance costs and an unplanned mill disruption from blocked crusher chutes in the first quarter that have since been resolved. The decrease in site G&A quarter-on-quarter reflects the increase mill feed and lower costs during the period. Confirmed COVID-19 cases at site increased from 111 at the end of the first quarter to 120 by the end of the second quarter, a decrease in positive cases from 48 in the first quarter to nine in the second quarter. Looking ahead, the Company expects to transition to ore mining of lower grades at Ledbetter Phase 1 and commence stripping of Ledbetter Phase 2, resulting in materially lower production and higher AISC in the second half of this year. The Company has refined its full year production guidance for Haile to 160,000 to 170,000 gold ounces at site AISC of $1,100 to $1,150 per ounce sold, including cash costs of $850 to $900 per ounce sold. The higher AISC and cash costs reflect higher mining costs incurred plus incremental sustaining capital expenditures related to open pit pre-stripping. Waihi, New Zealand Waihi produced 3,939 gold ounces in the second quarter and 8,276 gold ounces YTD. Second quarter activities at Waihi primarily focussed on the development of Martha Underground and replacement of the semi-autogenous grinding (“SAG”) mill. Approximately 2,665 metres of underground development were completed during the second quarter and 5,210 metres YTD. Sustained milling recommenced in late June following the successful replacement of Waihi’s SAG mill. AISC and cash costs for the second quarter were $1,223 and $1,215 per ounce sold, respectively, and increased quarter-on-quarter with higher operating costs associated with limited early production, partly offset by moderately higher gold sales. YTD AISC and cash costs were $1,099 per ounce and $976 per ounce, respectively, increases over the prior year period with the ramp-up of production at Martha Underground as expected. Unit mining costs were relatively unchanged quarter-on-quarter with mining of narrow vein ore at Correnso and early production from Martha Underground in both quarters. YTD mining costs reflect early production from Martha Underground relative to the prior year. Processing cost and site G&A increases in the second quarter reflect the planned shutdown for replacement of the SAG mill and resultant lower mill feed. Lower site G&A YTD over the prior year reflects normal operations relative to 2020 which included impacts from COVID-19-related shutdowns. Full year 2021 production guidance at Waihi remains unchanged while cost guidance has improved. The Company expects to produce 35,000 to 45,000 ounces at lower gold cash cost of $900 to $950 per ounce and site AISC of $1,300 to $1,350 per ounce sold. The Company anticipates ramp-up of production over the course of the second half with the highest quarter of production for the year expected in the fourth quarter. Macraes, New Zealand Macraes produced 32,669 gold ounces in the second quarter and 67,182 gold ounces in the first half of 2021. Lower than expected production in the second quarter reflects geotechnical impacts at the Coronation North open pit that slowed mining rates reducing access to higher grade ore zones, as well as a delayed re-start from the planned shut during the quarter to address out-of-scope maintenance requirements Second quarter AISC and cash costs were $1,524 and $897 per ounces sold, respectively. YTD AISC and cash costs were $1,428 and $857 per ounce sold, respectively. Cash costs increased approximately 10% quarter-onquarter and YTD over the prior year period, reflecting the lower ounces, a net drawdown in inventory and additional contractor costs to fill workforce vacancies. Similar increases in AISC also reflect the higher sustaining capital spend related to increased pre-stripping at Deepdell North and waste movements in the quarter and first half. Unit mining costs were 6% and 28% higher quarter-on-quarter and YTD over the prior year period, respectively, as a result of reduced trucking productivity from inclement weather which saturated haul roads, flooded active open pit mining areas, and rendered the underground inaccessible for a two-week period in the first quarter. Mining efforts were subsequently re-directed to increased waste mining and pre-stripping at Deepdell North open pit through the first half. Processing unit costs also increased over comparable periods, reflecting the one-off mill motor outage in the first quarter and extended mill shutdown during the second quarter. Due to the lower-than-expected production in the first half, the Company expects Macraes full year production to be in the lower end of the guidance range of 155,000 to 165,000 gold ounces at cash costs of $800 to $850 per ounce and increased site AISC to $1,200 to $1,250 per ounce sold over the full year, primarily driven by increased sustaining capital spend related to pre-stripping at Deepdell North and additional underground development. Production is still expected to increase in the third quarter and be higher overall in the fourth quarter of 2021. Didipio, Philippines There was no production from Didipio in the second quarter and first half due to the suspension of operations. The Company expensed $5.5 million in the second quarter and $10.0 million YTD of holding costs as part of consolidated Corporate General and Administration, which relates to maintaining Didipio in a state of operational standby. Subsequent to second quarter end, the Government of the Philippines renewed the Didipio FTAA for a further 25 years. The Company’s primary focus is the safe and responsible start-up of operations, which includes recruitment and training of the workforce and the transport of approximately 15,000 tonnes of copper-gold concentrate produced prior to the shutdown of operations. The Company expects to progressively ramp-up to full underground mining rates of 1.6 Mtpa within the next twelve months, depending on workforce rehiring and recruitment efforts. Ore from the underground will incrementally and steadily offset mill feed from stockpiled ore of which there is currently 19 million tonnes. Since March 2020, 72 positive COVID-19 cases have been managed at Didipio, 63 of which occurred in the second quarter of 2021. The Company experienced a significant increase in COVID-19-positive cases early in the second quarter, consistent with the spread of COVID-19 in the local and surrounding communities. The site continues to follow strict health and safety protocols to prevent the ongoing transmission of the virus at site. Financial In the first half of the year, the Company generated $331.5 million in revenue, a 42% increase from the prior year period due to record production at Haile, improved average gold price and early production at Waihi with the development of Martha Underground. Quarter-on-quarter revenue increased 23% with record production from Haile, partly offset by lower sales from Macraes where production was impacted by geotechnical issues that rendered higher grade ore zones of the open pit inaccessible. First half adjusted EBITDA (excluding Didipio carrying costs) of $161.9 million nearly tripled year-on-year, reflecting improved revenues on higher gold prices and record production at Haile at improved cash costs, as compared to the first half of 2020 which included impacts related to COVID-19 shutdowns. Quarter-on-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $95.4 million increased 43%, benefitting from record production at Haile at improved operating costs, partly offset by lower sales from Macraes. Adjusted net profit was $36.9 million or $0.05 per share on a fully diluted basis in the second quarter and $58.7 million or $0.08 per share on a fully diluted basis YTD. The quarter-on-quarter and year-over-year increases were mainly a function of the higher revenue from increased sales volumes. The increases were partly offset by income tax expense of $15.8 million in the second quarter and $21.5 million YTD due to the operational profits in the USA and New Zealand. Additionally, there were no potential tax benefits recognised associated with the costs incurred to maintain Didipio in a state of operational readiness. Operating cash flows YTD were $83.4 million, a decrease year-over-year given the $79.0 million received from the gold presale in the first quarter of 2020. Excluding working capital adjustments, fully-diluted cash flow per share was $0.22 YTD and $0.13 for the second quarter. First half investing cash flows of $152.8 million were significantly higher than the prior year period, primarily due to higher growth capital expenditures at Haile related to the expansion of waste storage facilities, increased prestripping at Macraes and the ongoing development of Martha Underground at Waihi. As at June 30, 2021, the Company’s cash balance stood at $92.3 million, and net debt increased quarter-onquarter to $224.8 million, mainly reflecting the lower cash balance. The Company’s total debt facilities stood at $250 million of which $50 million remains undrawn as at 30 June 2021.

Mining

Philippine Resources - August 02, 2021

Lawmaker Renews Call for Mining Tax Regime, Trust Fund During National Confab of Mining Stakeholders

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has called for the passage of the proposed fiscal regime for the mining industry, saying the industry is a potential job creator in the post-COVID future. Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, emphasized the natural wealth potential of the Philippines, but observed "key deficiencies in the country’s extractive industry governance framework," some of which can be resolved by a “coherent tax regime.” “The country is the fifth most mineral-rich country in the world for gold, nickel, copper, and chromite. It is also home to the largest copper-gold deposit in the world. Estimates suggest that up to 840 billion dollars of untapped mineral wealth is in Philippine soil,” Salceda said in his keynote speech during the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) National Conference on Thursday. “This is not to mention the 17.1 billion barrels of oil deposits that China’s Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources estimates to be in the Spratlys, or the 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that the US Energy Information Administration believes to be in the area. “These resources, if extracted and managed properly, could make the Philippines one of the richest countries in the world,” Salceda added. Salceda noted that although the issuance of Executive Order 130, amending Section 4 of Executive Order No. 79 s. 2012, lifted the moratorium imposed by the latter on new mining agreements, the Executive Order still has areas for improvement. “First, neither Congress nor the Department of Finance, the country’s fiscal policymakers and fiscal administrators respectively, are given a specific role in this process by the new EO,” Salceda said. Salceda also observed that the EO delegates some powers that are not supported by law, including the power of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to negotiate tax agreements with miners. Salceda also said it is the DOF that has the experience in financial management and should therefore negotiate revenue sharing agreements on the government’s behalf. Salceda, however, emphasized the high potential of the mining sector post-pandemic. “As the world shifts towards electric-powered transport, and as the digital economy continues its ascent, the global economy will require more minerals, especially nickel and copper, which we abound in. Nickel prices are once again in 5-year high levels. So is copper and cobalt, elements needed for e-vehicle batteries,” Salceda said. “Regardless of the grade of minerals we produce, demand is high across the board. It can only mean well for our mining industry’s bottom lines in the medium-term,” Salceda added. Salceda stressed the revenue-generating potential of the industry if a tax regime is enacted. “The tax revenues are also crucial for economic recovery. The proposed regime will generate P7.2 billion in incremental revenues on the first year and P37.9 billion over the next 5 years. These are closed-group estimates. “They are probably conservative, as more mining agreements are made and as mineral prices continue to boom. So, these revenues will play an important role in helping stabilize our fiscal situation,” Salceda said. The industry could create well-paying jobs post-pandemic but stressed the need for a mining trust fund supported by tax revenues from mining as a “rainy day fund” for when mineral prices are low. “Of course, that’s [high prices] not forever. Manufacturers will find ways to reduce metallic content when the metals get too expensive. When that happens, prices will inevitably fall. We must be ready. The tax regime is not everything, but it’s a necessary step we cannot skip,” Salceda said.

Mining

Philippine Resources - August 02, 2021

Philex Delivers PHP1.149B Core Net Income in 1H2021, An Increase of 186% Compared with 1H2020

Photo Credit: Redjie Melvic Cawis Philex Mining Corporation announced that the Company achieved another new high in its revenues and core net income for 2Q2021. Philex recorded a Core Net Income of Php610 million for the 2nd quarter. In addition to the Php540 million core net income it already recorded in 1Q2021, Philex registered a new high core net income for the first half of the year at Php1.149 billion. Satisfactory execution of the mining plan resulted in sustained level of metal output, and optimum operating cost and expenses delivered the higher core net income for the quarter and year-todate ended June 30, 2021. The Company reported a Net Income of Php600 million for 2Q2021 versus the reported Net Income of Php322 million for the same period in 2020, an 86% increase. Production and Revenues The Company milled slightly lower tonnage than the first quarter of 2021 resulting in slightly lower copper output for 2Q2021. Despite the slightly lower copper output, the Company generated higher revenues for 2Q2021 at Php2.377 billion, higher by 21% over the same period in 2020. This brings 1H2021 revenues to Php4.747 billion, ahead by 29% over the same period in 2020, with revenues only at Php3.680 billion. The higher revenues are due mainly to the sustained higher realized metal prices for both Gold and Copper at $1,807 per ounce and $4.21 per pound, respectively. The satisfactory execution of the mining plan and mill operations resulted in the production of 13,612 ounces of Gold and 6.435 million pounds of Copper for 2Q2021, bringing the 1H2021 total metal output at 27,025 ounces of Gold and 13.205 million pounds of Copper. Operating Costs and Expenses Core and Net Income Operating costs and expenses for 2Q2021 at Php1.593 billion are higher than those of 2Q2020 at Php1.552 billion due to slightly higher production expenses and higher excise taxes and royalties attributable to higher revenues. The slight increase was tempered by lower non-cash production costs in 2Q2021 amounting to Php271 million compared with non-cash production costs in 2Q2020 amounting to Php330 million. This brings the 1H2021 operating costs and expenses to P3.240 billion, higher by Php136 million compared with 1H2020. The increase is attributable to increasing production cost brought about by the effects of the pandemic to the supply chain, including logistics and Covid-19 response undertaken by the Company. Reported Net Income for 2Q2021 increased by 86% to Php600 million from Php322 million in 2Q2020 This brings the Company’s 1H2021 reported Net Income to Php1.159 billion from Php425 million of 1H2020. Core Net Income for 2Q2021 reached Php610 million to close the 1H2021 Core Net Income at Php1.149 billion, higher by 186% versus the Core Net Income of Php402 million in 1H2020. The Company generated EBITDA of Php1.016 billion for the 2Q2021 versus Php708 million in 2Q2020, a 44% increase. This brings the 1H2021 EBITDA to Php2.027 billion versus Php1.127 billion in 1H2020, an increase of 80% COVID 2019 Despite our strict implementation of the IATF-DOH mandated health protocols, the Company was not spared by the spread of the Covid19 virus. Several employees and their dependents were infected by the virus but the infection was immediately contained, preventing widespread transmission, and ensuring the continued operation of both the mine and mill plant. The Company adopted and implemented regular surveillance and contact tracing activities to further strengthen its defense against any transmission to its employees and their dependents. Silangan Project The Board of Directors of Philex has approved the In-Phase development of Silangan and the Company will be appointing a financial advisor to assist in the fund raising that will commence as soon as practicable. With the In-Phase development of Silangan, the capital expenditure requirement will be made in stages, and can be funded from a variety of potential resources including internally-generated cash and potentially through equity and debt from investors and creditors. The Company is confident that Silangan development will start by Q22022 with the target of commencing commercial operations in January 2025. “We will be working with our financial advisor to immediately implement the fund raising activity for the InPhase development of Silangan. We believe that the recent government pronouncements related to the mining industry will increase the level of interest and confidence of investors and lenders to mining companies. The launch of Silangan will be very timely.”, emphasized Eulalio B Austin, Jr, Philex President and CEO. “The global outlook for metal prices continue to be positive and Philex is poised to benefit as we emphasize on excellent execution of plans in light of the current volatile environment brought about by this pandemic. In the next couple of months, we set to launch our Silangan Project under an In-Phase Development approach. Silangan will be an exciting project for Philex.”, concluded Manuel V. Pangilinan, Philex Chairman.   Article Courtesy of The Philippine Stock Exchange

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