• Lepanto gets people’s support for project

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    Listed miner Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. on Monday announced that it has acquired the majority vote of the indigenous people for the issuance of the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) for its Far Southeast Project (FSP) in Benguet province.

    In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Lepanto said that 85 percent of community elders and leaders of the indigenous people of affected barangays in Mankayan, Benguet, approved the issuance of the FTAA to Far Southeast Gold Resources Inc. (FSGRI).

    “The taking of the vote is a significant step in the Free and Prior Informed Consent process, a prerequisite to the issuance of an FTAA to FSGRI,” Lepanto said.

    At present, Lepanto holds 60 percent of the FSP. In March 2012, South African miner Gold Fields Ltd. acquired the remaining 40-percent stake for $220 million.

    Gold Fields also has a remaining option to acquire an additional 20-percent interest in the project through Lepanto to gain majority control of the venture.

    Earlier, the South African miner said that it remains on track of the prefeasibility study of the Far Southeast Project.

    It also said that it wants to exercise option immediately after the FTAA has been approved and complete the prefeasibility study through the course of 2014.

    In September 2012, Gold Fields said that it completed an 18-month drilling program, which resulted in maiden inferred mineral resource estimate of 19.8 million ounces of gold and 4.5 million metric tons of copper.

    The company said that the Far Southeast Project remained “open” to further explorations, adding it has yet to fully determine the depth and mineral concentration of the deposit.

    James Konstantin Galvez

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