25th September 2008
Philex Mining Corp, the Philippines’ most valuable listed mining firm, said on Thursday it was buying out partner Anglo American Plc in a gold and copper venture for $55-million.
Philex and its subsidiary Philex Gold Inc will have full control of the Boyongan gold and copper mine once Philex’s purchase of Anglo American’s 50% stake is completed, the company said in a statement.
Philex and Anglo American, the world’s fourth-largest diversified mining group, have had differences in their assessment of the viability of the copper and gold project.
A $50-million pre-feasibility study by Anglo American last year showed the investment needed to explore the Boyongan mine in Surigao province in the southern Mindanao island would not produce an acceptable rate of return.
The Boyongan copper lode is one of the government’s 24 priority mining projects, with an estimated ore reserve of 300-million tons at 0,6 percent copper and one gram per tonne of gold, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
Philex said production at the Boyongan mine can start by 2012.
“With its attractive and proven copper gold reserves, Philex can aggressively proceed with the final feasibility study,” company chairman Walter Brown said in a statement.
The Philippines sits on top of $1 trillion worth of unexplored copper, gold, nickel and zinc mines, according to government estimates.
The Southeast Asian nation has opened the minerals sector to 100% foreign ownership to fasttrack the rehabilitation of old mines and develop new ones to take advantage of high metal prices driven largely by huge demand from mineral-hungry China.