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Philex sees $7-B windfall from Silangan mine

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The post-pandemic windfall from the Boyongan deposit of the Silangan gold mine project in Surigao del Norte is seen to reach $7 billion over 28 years from the sales of metallic mineral, the Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. said Thursday.

Based on the recently completed In-Phase development of the Silangan Project, Philex would need $224 million initial capital to start the project.

“The numbers for the Silangan Project are very compelling, pushing us to pursue the mine development even without a strategic partner or major investors as we originally envisioned,” Philex chief finance officer Romeo Bachoco said.

Initial projections show the starter mine will produce 2,000 tonnes daily once commercial operations in early 2025 and reach 12,000 tonnes a day by the 12th year of operation.

The Boyongan deposit alone of the Silangan Project has an estimated 81 million tonnes of mineable reserve that is estimated to yield 992.8 million pounds of copper and 2.81 million ounces of gold. The estimated mineable reserve is based on Philex’s In-Phase Mine Plan for Silangan.

Philex is still exploring the nearby Bayugo deposit.

The feasibility study assumed a price of $3.20 per pound of copper and $1,342 an ounce for gold — both below current prices of copper of over $4.00 per pound and gold over $1,800 an ounce.

Using those assumed prices, the combined revenues from copper and gold totaled $6.91 billion over the 28 years life of the soon-to-be-developed mine.

Bachoco told an earlier meeting with the media that the breakeven cost of producing a pound of copper in Silangan is between $2.00 and $2.30 per pound and between $850 and $900 for every ounce of gold.

Philex will raise the initial capital for the starter mine from a combination of proceeds from the stock rights offer a fresh capital infusion from surplus cash of Philex from its current Padcal mine operation to its wholly-owned subsidiary Silangan Mindanao Mining Co. This company will operate the mine and possibly debt.

Philex said the stock rights offer, which is scheduled in February, subject to the approval of the PSE and SEC, will raise around P3.15 billion for the Silangan Project.

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