THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has given the green light for the Philex Mining Corp. to employ the underground sub-level cave mining method for its Silangan mine in Surigao del Norte.
“Philex Mining Corporation is pleased to announce that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the MGB, in a letter dated September 26, 2019, has approved the underground sub-level cave mining method in connection with the previously issued Order dated April 10, 2015 approving the Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (DMPF) of the Silangan Copper- Gold Project of Silangan Mindanao Mining Company, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philex, under MPSA No. 149-99-XII,” the listed company told the stock exchange on Thursday.
Sub-level cave mining is a mining method that starts at the top of the orebody and develops downward. Ore is mined from sub-levels with regular intervals.
MGB’s approval of the mining method includes the three-year development and utilization work program on the mine from the second half of 2019 to the first half of 2022, as well as the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP), Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Plan (FMRDP), and Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).
Philex Mining said the activities under the three-year development and utilization work program for the Silangan mine can now be implemented.
The Silangan mine has three deposit areas, Boyongan, Bayugo, and Kalayaan, the latter a joint venture with Manila Mining Corp. This is expected to be Philex Mining’s biggest source of revenue after its 61-year-old Padcal mine in Tuba, Benguet is set to be closed by 2022.
The operation of the Silangan mine was originally set to begin in 2018, but has been moved to 2022 due to the government’s ban on new open-pit mining introduced in 2017.
The mining company is also in the process of looking for possible investors for the Silangan project by December 2019.
The first phase of the mine covers the Boyongan deposit, which has an estimated mine life of 22 years. Target date for commercial operations is July 2022.
Philex Mining is one of the three local units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the two other being PLDT, Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc. — a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc. — maintains interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which is controls. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang