[ Manila Bulletin Online ] February 24, 2009
Bong M. Reblando
KORONADAL CITY — The Central Mindanao office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has issued a permit to a local firm for exploration of gold, copper and silver deposits in the three provinces of the region covering some 14,832 hectares.
Constancio Paye Jr., MBG regional chief, said Tao Mohin Resources Corporation, a Filipino-owned company, wants to explore minerals in the vast mountains of Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat, Lake Sebu in South Cotabato and Maitum in Sarangani.
Paye said that last week, the company, represented by Reynaldo Royeca, one of the directors of the firm, paid almost a million peso to the MGB, through the Records and Licensing Division under Hernai Abdon.
As this developed, Paye is encouraging future investors, either foreign or local, to also tap other areas in Central Mindanao known to have huge mineral deposits that would ensure profit and viability of investing firms.
He said the Philippines has huge deposits of gold, copper, nickel and zinc worth approximately trillion.
Paye cited the potentials of North Cotabato, which is believed to hold a commercial volume of gold, copper and silver in its mountains that straddles Mt. Apo and in areas bordering the provinces of Maguindanao and Bukidnon.
Records at the MGB regional office showed that most mining areas in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani were already awarded or under application by various Filipino and foreign mining firms.
Leading these firms is the Anglo-Swiss mining firm Xstrata PLC, one of the world’s leading mining companies, whose Tampakan Gold-Copper Projects in Tampakan, South Cotabato is about to start its billion project.
Paye said that Xstrata holds some 62.5 percent of the Tampakan project, while the rest is shared by Filipino-owned Sagitarrius Mines, Inc. and Australian firm Indophil which is on the verge of extracting some 11 million metric tons of copper, 14 million ounces of gold at three percent cut-off grade.
Meanwhile, MGB Central Office chief Horacio Ramos said a hit in gold and copper mining in Tampakan would greatly contribute to the country’s gold reserves, basically uploaded by the Mt. Diwalwal operation.
He said increased gold reserves would bolster the peso exchange rate vis-à-vis the dollar and would benefit the Filipinos since the purchasing value of the peso is greater.
He also said that the mining investment target of billion is likely to fall this year similar to that of 2008 whose investment goal of .8 billion was not met due to the global economic crunch spawned by the economic crisis that affected major countries.