MANILA - Philex Mining is eyeing new mining prospects after work on the firm's Silangan Copper Gold project in Surigao Del Norte continued, its chairman Manny Pangilinan said Wednesday.
Philex is investing $224 million more to the project after the ban on new mining deals was lifted by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte in April 2021 lifted the moratorium on new mining agreements to boost economic growth.
In an interview with ANC, Pangilinan said they invested some P17.9 billion in the Silangan project which began during the administration of Benigno Aquino III.
"There has been a previous batch of investment to bring us to phase 1 development of Silangan and actual production of gold and copper will entail about $224 million on top of what has been invested," he said.
With looser restrictions on mining, the tycoon said they are exploring expansion prospects in Mindanao and Benguet, among others.
Demand for copper, nickel, gold and other minerals is also expected to continue rising due to technology and innovations, such as electric vehicles and smart phones, because almost everything needs a certain amount of minerals, he said.
“We got other mining prospects now that we’ve started Silangan and we’re being approached by other mining owners. With the advent of e-vehicles I think there will be a huge demand for metals as they manufacture these electric vehicles,” Pangilinan said.
Asked whether Philex will consider open pit-mining for the Silangan project, Pangilinan said underground mining is more environment friendly.
Shifting to open-pit mining will also cost billions, he added.
Pangilinan also said the company is committed to its efforts to make their operations environment-friendly and sustainable.
Aside from mining, Pangilinan has interests in telecommunications, energy and health, among others.