‘$1.1B needed to run Silangan project’
PHILEX Mining Corp. said about $1.1 billion was needed to start operating its Silangan mine project in Surigao del Norte province, which is exptected to replace the company’s Padcal copper-gold mine in Benguet province.
On the sidelines of the mining firm’s annual stockholders’ meeting in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday, Philex Mining Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters the amount was only a “preliminary estimate,” noting that it had “already invested some P17 billion ($330 million) in Silangan” and an additional “$740 million [in] capital” was needed “to bring it to operations.”
The $1.1 billion is “the total cost to operate the mine, assuming the feasibility study confirms the viability” of the project, Pangilinan said.
The Philex Mining chief admitted that the company would have “some difficulty” in raising the funds, but assured that it had “appointed a banker to raise the equity with us and another banker to raise the project financing.”
On the feasibility study, the company expects its completion by lead technical consultant Ausenco, an Australia-based engineering firm, by next month.
Despite being eager to begin operating Silangan, Philex Mining is still willing to invest more to extend Pacdal’s mine life — which is seen to end by December 2022 — but Pangilanan said “we have not found enough resources commercially that will sufficiently justify building a new tailing span.”
By 2020, Silangan is expected to generate P170 billion in revenues, P31 billion in national and local taxes and at least 8,000 employment opportunities for the first 10 years of operations.
It is also expected to spend P6 billion over the same period for social development and infrastructure programs that will benefit Mindanao.
Philex Mining and its subsidiaries are into the large-scale exploration, development and utilization of mineral resources.
Philex Mining shares fell by 15 centavos or 4.03 percent to close at P3.57 apiece on Thursday.