MANILA, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Philippine copper and gold producer, Philex Mining Corp PX.PS, said on Tuesday it plans to launch its long-delayed Silangan project for commercial operation in the first quarter of 2025, with an initial development cost of $224 million.
The initial development forms part of an estimated $1.7 billion in capital expenditure needed for Silangan’s entire mining life of up to 28 years, company officials said in a virtual media briefing.
The Silangan mine in the southern Philippine province of Surigao del Norte is one of the country’s biggest mining projects. It is due to become the miner’s main source of revenue after the closure of its Padcal mine in the north in 2024, which has been operating for more than six decades.
The Philippines is one of the world’s top copper, gold and nickel producers but the Silangan project, originally slated to begin production in 2018, was hit by a ban on open-pit mining introduced in 2017 as authorities stepped up environmental protection.
With the ban on open-pit mining still in place, Philex has decided to use underground mining instead.
But the more restrictive mining policy situation at home had discouraged potential foreign strategic partners for Silangan.
To pursue the project, the plan now is to embark on a phased development, said Eulalio Austin, Philex chief executive officer.
“We could more or less finance a small mine that (Philex) could slowly ramp up to its full capacity,” he said.
Philex is looking to launch next year a stock rights offering to raise up to 3.15 billion pesos ($63 million), inject additional capital and borrow money to finance the project, he said.
Silangan is estimated to be capable of producing 2,000 tonnes of copper and gold ore per day in the first few years of operations, which will be ramped up gradually in the succeeding years, Austin said.
(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz
Editing by Ed Davies)
This article originally appeared on reuters.com