Manila Mining, Philex wrap up talks for mine deal

BusinessWorld

Posted at Apr 20 2011 07:53 AM | Updated as of Apr 20 2011 03:53 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Mining Corp. has agreed to jointly develop its copper-gold reserve in Mindanao with Philex Mining Corp. as both sides are already going through legal legwork to finalize the deal, an official yesterday said.

oint venture operations at the so-called Kalayaan site along with rehabilitation of the company’s Placer gold mine in nearby Surigao del Norte should increase metal output to take advantage of high world market prices, Felipe U. Yap, Manila Mining chairman and chief executive officer, told reporters at the sidelines of the firm’s annual stockholders’ meeting.

“[Manuel V. Pangilinan] and I already have a gentleman’s agreement on the details of the project,” Mr. Yap said, referring to the deal with Philex to develop Manila Mining’s gold and copper reserves.

Philex, the country’s largest miner, already plans to work on the adjacent gold and copper Silangan mine also in Surigao del Norte.

“I have lawyers. He has his own lawyers…and they all have to talk to finalize the agreement,” Mr. Yap said.

“We are still waiting for our lawyers to make the final arrangements for the agreement to become legally binding,” he said, without elaborating.

Philex could not be immediately reached for comment.

Mr. Pangilinan, Philex chairman, had earlier said commercial terms have been agreed on. Philex will reportedly infuse 60% of project cost for the 286.6-hectare Kalayaan site while Manila Mining will account for the rest of the expenses.

Mr. Yap went on to note that Manila Mining will begin rehabilitating the Placer gold mine in Surigao del Norte this year since it ceased operations in 2001 after a landslide at the main open-pit mine site.

“We want to take advantage of today’s gold prices through the reopening of the Placer mine, which has a potential of producing 280 ounces of gold per day,” Mr. Yap said.

“Based on preliminary studies, rehabilitation will take around eight months and will cost some P900 million,” Segundo A. Villanueva, Manila Mining engineer head, revealed.

Despite the lack of mining operations, the company narrowed its net loss by 51.82% to P8.87 million last year from P18.41 million in 2009, an annual report read.

Manila Mining shares sold almost 3% higher at P0.035 apiece yesterday from Monday’s P0.034. -- EJD, BusinessWorld