Corporate News

OceanaGold ups investment, expects to hit pay dirt at Didipio

Posted on September 09, 2015

CLARK, PAMPANGA -- Australian miner OceanaGold Corp. plans to hike its investment in the Philippines in the next 10 years as it looks to expand its operation beyond the Didipio gold-copper mine in Luzon, a company official said on Tuesday.

A WORKER at OceanaGold Corp. is seen simulating mining operations at a new underground training facility the Australian miner unveiled yesterday. The miner said it will boost the current $400 million investment in its Didipio mine “three more times” in the next 10 years. OCEANAGOLD
“Didipio costs in the ballpark of $400 million. We like to do it three more times in the Philippines in the next 10 years,” OceanaGold Country Director Bradley Norman told reporters on the sidelines of the opening of its underground training facility here.

OceanaGold owns and operates its flagship operation, the Didipio mine in the Nueva Vizcaya province. Commercial production at the mine began in April 2013.

The miner is keen on expanding its operations in the country, setting its sights on existing mines and greenfield projects in Surigao del Norte and North Luzon.

“It’s an opportunity simply because we would like to reproduce what we have in Didipio in as many places in the Philippines,” Mr. Norman said.

“We are open to business. The gold prices are where they are and there are a lot of companies that are looking for opportunities and we’re obviously one of those companies,” he said.

OceanaGold shrugged off the impact of a slowdown in China -- the world’s top consumer and producer of refined copper -- to its operations.

“We have such a professional operation -- all sustainable processes.

We are the lowest cost-producer in the world and so we are pretty much secured from the impact,” Mr. Norman said.

OceanaGold unveiled yesterday its over $2-million underground training facility that houses Asia’s only underground metalliferous mining simulator.

The company constructed the facility to train underground miners for its Didipio mine as well as for other domestic and international companies.

“The cost to the company is negligible, but the return is phenomenal,” Mr. Norman said.

OceanaGold announced the plan to triple its Philippine investments at a time when the government is seeking Congressional nod to measures aimed at giving the state a bigger share in mining revenues.

“The government’s been very supportive of us. We are where we are because we have that support from the government,” Mr. Norman said.

“That’s probably the biggest thing, to keep that stability, and it will come in time. It’s just an industry that is starting to blossom.”

In New Zealand, OceanaGold operates the country’s largest gold operation at the Macraes Goldfield and the Reefton Gold Mine on the west coast. In April, it acquired the Waihi gold mine in New Zealand with the transaction expected to close in the third quarter.