King-king project secures ECC for $2-B copper-gold project

By Czeriza Valencia, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 04 2015 07:37 AM | Updated as of Mar 04 2015 03:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has issued an Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) to the $2 billion King-king copper-gold project in Campostela Valley of US-based St. Augustine Gold and Copper Limited and its local partner Nationwide Development Corporation (Nadecor), bringing it closer to the completion of the permit process.

In an announcement on its website, St. Augustine said the project has successfully satisfied the requirement of the EMB’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) system.

An ECC is a document certifying that a project would not have an adverse impact to the environment. The ECC is a critical requirement for the approval of the Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (DMPF), the final requirement for operating a project.

“The approval of the EIS is a key milestone for the project on a number of levels,” said Paolo A. Villar, president and CEO of St. Augustine.

“First, we achieved a critical step in de-risking the project. The approved EIS demonstrates our commitment to international environmental and social best practices. Furthermore, it is a testament of the support for development of the King-king (project) from the Philippine government, both as the local and national levels,” he added.

The King King project, one of the priority projects by the MGB, is expected to produce 3.16 billion pounds of copper and 5.43 million ounces of gold over its 25-year mine life.

The construction of the mine had been originally scheduled this year, with commercial production seen to commence by 2017.

The King-king project would create 5,000 direct jobs and about 20,000 indirect jobs during its construction phase, and around 1,700 workers once it starts commercial production.

The resolution of the legal dispute for company control between two factions remains to date as the single biggest obstacle to the commencement of operations.

In January 2014, the project proponents engaged with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in a prelimiary review of its DMPF application after the agency placed on hold in November 2013 the evaluation of its application pending the resolution of the legal dispute.

MGB director Leo Jasareno said the company’s DMPF application remains to be under review as the company has yet to complete other requirements.

The DMPF is a document containing an assessment on the commercial viability of deposits. Securing the DMPF is the final step to commencement of operations.

Nadecor, as the holder of the mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) for the tenement, has partnered with St. Augustine as its contractor in developing the mine.

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