P14-B copper mining project from PBBM’s Aussie trip secures permit

By: Philippine Resources March 25, 2024

For the first time in 15 years, the Philippine government granted permit to the copper mining project of Perth-based Celsius Resources with initial investments of USD253 million, or around PHP14 billion.

In a statement over the weekend, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Celsius Resources’ local unit Makilala Mining Company, Inc. (MMCI) was granted a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on March 15.

The 25-year MPSA, which could be extended for another 25 years, is for the company’s Maalinao-Caigutan-Biyog (MCB) Mining Project in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

The MPSA gives the company the exclusive rights to explore, develop, and commercially produce copper and associated minerals within the 2,500-hectare contract area.

DTI said the MCB mining project is part of the USD1.53-billion investment pledges that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. received during his visit to Melbourne, Australia early this month.

“During his visit to Melbourne, President Marcos Jr. addressed the Australian business community, highlighting the Philippines’ vision to become a regional hub for smart and sustainable manufacturing. He emphasized the country’s focus on attracting sustainable-driven strategic investments, particularly in critical mineral processing, while ensuring adherence to strict labor and environmental standards,” DTI said.

According to Celsius Resources, the company has earmarked USD253 million as initial capital expenditure for the MCB project “with a payback period of approximately 2.7 years”.

It added that upon operation, the national government’s share of production includes excise tax on mineral products on top of a royalty of at least 4 percent of the gross output, as well as other taxes, duties, and fees levied by existing laws.

MMCI will also pay an annual occupation fee to the municipality where the project is located.

“As at the date of this announcement, the annual occupation fee which would apply to the Contract Area would be approximately A$5,000 (PHP183,000) per year,” Celsius said.

Moreover, the Australian company said it will proceed with the process to obtain the Certificate of Pre-condition from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as part of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Process.

On Nov. 15, 2022, MMCI already signed an agreement with the Balatoc Tribe community setting out the terms and conditions for utilizing their land for the purpose of mining.

The company is also allocating "an annual royalty payment of not less than 1 percent of the value of the gross output of minerals sold" to the Balotoc Tribe community and "a minimum of 1.5 percent of the operating costs necessary for the development of the host and neighboring communities".

It added that it will hire qualified Filipino citizens during mining operations, wherein the company will provide training and recruitment programs.

“Now is our chance to deliver on our firm commitment to work with the government and the local communities to develop the MCB Project in a sustainable manner that creates value not only for our shareholders but also for our communities,” Celsius executive chairperson Julito Sarmiento said. By Kris Crismundo


Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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