Corporate News

Magnetite sand miner downbeat on production in Leyte

Posted on August 08, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY -- Mining firm Leyte Ironsand Corp. said the magnetite sand produced in Leyte has so far failed to meet volume and quality targets, but company officials have vowed to pursue the project.

Camila Wang, director of Leyte Ironsand, said they have initially invested $1.5 million in the Leyte project and lost about a million dollars.

“The volume extracted and produced in more than one year is very small. We expect more but results showed that magnetite in the area is of very low grade,” Ms. Wang said.

The company has shipped out only 200,000 tons of mineral concentrates in more than one year, not even half of the plant’s current production capacity, which is estimated at up to 600,000 tons of concentrates per year. Most were shipped to China although some were brought to South Korea.

John See, assistant to the president of Leyte Ironsand, said dealing with mining issues has been very costly on their part but they have to pursue or else they will lose their capital as well.

“Mining by itself is capital intensive. Going into this business needs huge capital. This is a long term investment and we won’t get any return of investment in the next two to three years,” he said.

Leyte Ironsand has partnered with Nicua Mining Corp. in exploring 524 hectares in the towns of MacArthur and Javier in Leyte.

Their mining operation has been blamed by the community for the massive fish kill in Lake Bito, where mine waste were reported to have reached the fishing grounds.

Ms. Wang has denied the charges.

“We have been going through so much trouble. We tried to do the right way but there’s always a problem coming out. In Australia, when you get MPSA (mineral production sharing agreement), you can just go to work and not deal with many people,” she said, citing the company’s mining experience in Australia.

Further, Leyte Ironsand officials said they are still waiting for the release of implementing rules and regulations for Executive Order 79.

The directive identifies zones closed to mining applications and orders the local government to harmonize policies with the national mining mandate. -- Sarwell Q. Meniano