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One Year Hence: Communities are at the Heart of Agata COVID-19 Initiatives

by Philippine Resources - June 30, 2021

Photo Credit: TVI Resources - Agusan del Norte PDRRMC receives COVID-19 Kits that include rubber boots, alcohol, face shields, face masks, gloves, and water supplies.  

It has been more than a year ago since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as global pandemic. This deadly virus triggered devastating economic and social disruption as it shuttered business establishments and affected millions with death and disease.  By the end of the first quarter in 2020, the Philippines was likewise left vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.

In active response to the needs of the community, Agata Mining Ventures Inc. remained committed more than ever to serving its stakeholders by rolling-out projects that aimed to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic.

COVID-19 initiatives

At the onset of the pandemic, the company distributed various Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) from Manila as part of its immediate response to the needs of medical frontliners in the Mindanao region.  

Along with mother company, TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD), Agata distributed critical PPEs: N95 face masks, face shields and surgical and examination gloves to protect frontliners, including local government personnel, medical workers, police, civilian volunteers and checkpoint personnel.

It also provided relief to more than 10,000 families in its respective areas and sourced majority of its fresh vegetables from farmers and other goods from local establishments.  The company’s initiative did not only address food shortage but also provided a source of income for local producers.

Aside from directly supporting the livelihood of farmers and fisherfolks, Agata also aided its communities by capacitating its people with new skills.  The company’s Mabakas Techno Demo Farm provided scholarships and trainings for the locals, bringing its total number of scholars since 2018 to almost 4,000.

The National Certificate courses at Mabakas are funded by the company’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds and conducted in partnership with the country’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).  These courses also aim to help the graduates obtain alternative livelihood and tap economic opportunities despite the pandemic.

Agata extended additional assistance to displaced students by providing school equipment to enable them to study from home. The company distributed heavy-duty photocopiers and paper supplies to partners Barangay Tinigbasan National High School and Elementary School, Barangay Lawigan Elementary School and Kauswagan De Oro Elementary School in Barangay E. Morgado.

A reliable partner

Today, Agata continues to performs its role in building communities as it creates employment opportunities for the general welfare of its stakeholders.  During the pandemic, the company recruited a total of 78 new personnel – majority of whom are from Caraga.

“I am thankful that despite COVID-19 I am able to get a new job.  I know it is not easy to be employed, given our situation now,” stated Precious Erap, resident of Butuan – a newly-hired purchaser at Agata.

Dareem Angob, a resident of Santiago Municipality of this province, expressed that her ‘acquired knowledge’ from the Mabakas Organic Farming course, which she took during the pandemic, is very useful and that she now has a vegetable garden right at her doorstep.

Agata likewise promotes organic backyard gardening as an alternative source of food and income during the lockdown.  It also conducts regular information and education campaigns on COVID-19 to keep the communities abreast of health protocols.

Driven by its philosophy of “Starting it right, keeping the end in mind,” Agata continues to operate responsibly throughout the pandemic while ensuring the integrity of both the community and its natural environment. It also continues to create new innovations that conserve natural resources as well as pave the way for the people’s progress – all for a sustainable future.                                                           



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Philippine Resources - June 30, 2021

Imelda Residents: Help Came When We Needed It Most

A helping hand. TVIRD’s Community Relations team led by Khalil Tabernero distributed food packs to Imelda Town’s flood victims who were lining-up alongside the company’s service vehicle.  Physical distancing was strictly implemented in the queues while some food packs were delivered directly to households by the team. “It was a touching gesture.  The assistance provided to us came when we needed it most.  Thank you so much, TVIRD,” said Imelda Town residents who were provided with food packs by TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD). The assistance came after the devastating storm battered the town and hit Barangay Poblacion the hardest. Danny Gamil, leader of a barangay purok (a subset of a barangay) and neighbor Nolyn G. Palme said the arrival of the food packs helped their families survive for days after Storm Crising brought heavy flooding. Gamil is one of the town’s earliest settlers.  He said all the residents of his purok and others of this barangay received the food packs delivered by the company’s Community Relations personnel who were led by Khalil Pope Tabernero. The company’s efforts provided immediate relief to an estimated 400 families in the municipality. Earlier, TVIRD provided assistance to some 250 families from Barangays Dimalinao, Kahayagan and Dipili directly after Crising battered these barangays with strong floods and extraordinary rainfall.  PAGASA warned of “isolated to scattered flooding, including flash floods and rain-induced landslides” in vulnerable areas.  Specifically for Zamboanga del Sur, this is not the first time that a natural disaster of this magnitude brought savage destruction to homes and farmlands.  A touching gesture “I was really touched, seeing all those goods delivered to us by TVIRD.  Its arrival comforted us, made us see the goodness of men,” said Palme, 29-year old wife of a fish vendor and mother of three.  She said that their family had no income for days and that she and her husband have been clearing their house of debris after it was submerged by flood water. “Everything was washed away by the flood.  We only salvaged our TV set and a cooking utensil.  We are hard-up and do not have income.  Adding to our misery was the lockdown imposed on us again – we cannot even go out.  But thanks to TVIRD’s food packs, which sustained us for several days,” Palme said. Imelda food packs being distributeded Farmer and tricycle driver Gerson F. Bacleta, said TVIRD’s help was unexpected, especially since Imelda is located almost 50 kilometers from TVIRD’s facilities in Bayog Municipality, Zamboanga del Sur Province.   “We did not expect it, but I am grateful because the assistance helped feed my family for three days.  It was the only assistance that we received after the storm,” he said.  “Sadly, my rice land is buried with mud and can no longer be salvaged,” Bacleta shared.  He would have harvested about a month after the storm. Devastating flood Gamil said the May 14 flood was “devastating.”  However, he also refuted reports that it was the first time Imelda town experienced this kind of flooding. “Hesus, 47 anyos na ko. Dili lang kay kini ang baha nga nakahatag ug daku nga kadaut sa among lungsod. May mga baha kaniadto nga nalunopan pod ang mga balay (Jesus!  I am 47 years old already.  This is not the only flood that brought so much destruction to our town. There were floods before that also submerged houses here),” he said. Imelda is a fourth-class municipality situated along Sibugay River, which is considered the longest body of water in Sibugay Province.  During the May 14 flooding, a huge volume of water from the river found its way to Imelda and other towns of the province.

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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. 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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. 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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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