• Lepanto eyes 1.9K tons per day copper output by yr-end

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    To raise P1.75B from stock rights offer

    LISTED miner Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. on Tuesday announced the resumption of its copper concentrate production following two years of drilling in the Copper-Gold Project, metallurgical tests, and rehabilitation program of its copper floatation plant in Mankayan, Benguet.

    In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Lepanto said the plant is currently being debugged and will be operated to produce gold and silver-bearing copper concentrates, alongside the carbon-in-pulp plant that will continue to produce gold ore.

    “The initial run-of-mine production from the Victoria ore body and the copper-gold project would be around 1,500 tons per day, ramping up to 1,900 tpd by yearend and 3,000 tpd by 2019,” the company said.

    “There is a technical report as required under the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code by a Competent Person on the mineral resource which is presently being reviewed and finalized, for submission in due course,” it added.

    To fund the further exploration and development of the Copper Gold Project, purchase of mining equipment, and settlement of debt and pension obligations, the company said that its Board of Directors has approved a stock rights offer of one share for every 4.685 shares held at P0.15 per share from its unissued authorized capital.
    The offer will raise a total of P1.751 billion. Record and offer dates will be announced once the company secures the PSE’s approval of the listing application.

    Since October 2015, Lepanto’s exploration team has completed 41,000 meters of underground drilling to evaluate the copper–gold project resources at the former enargite mining area (an enargite is a somewhat rare copper mineral). This program has successfully discovered combined indicated and inferred resources of 6.67 Mt (metric tons) at 0.99 percent Cu (copper) and 2.16 g/t Au (grams per tonne gold).

    “On-going drilling has outlined an additional geologic resource of 7.90 Mt at 1.69 percent Cu and 2.07 g/t Au, and an increased drilling program will bring these areas into inferred and indicated categories,” Lepanto said in an earlier report.

    During the course of the copper–gold resource definition drilling, a number of new significant porphyry copper-gold systems were also discovered. Deposits that can be mined in the future are Buaki and Bulalacao, while those at Florence West, Carmen, Spanish Tunnels and Odette remain to be drill tested in detail, the mining firm said.

    “These porphyries underlie the main enargite bodies and are the likely source of the copper and gold mineralization. Thus far, only the uppermost sections have been exposed to drilling. The potential for significant deeper mineralization is indeed exciting and additional drilling is planned to fully test the porphyry style of mineralization,” the company said.

    Established in 1936, Lepanto exports its gold output to Hong Kong, Canada, Peru, and China, among others, with its subsidiaries also involved in other businesses such as hauling, diamond drilling services, and insurance.

    with ANGELICA BALLESTEROS

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