Australian miner OceanaGold Corp. has received a five-year extension to its mining contract, paving the way to stage exploration works in the region surrounding Didipio in Nueva Vizcaya.
Mick Wilkes, OceanaGold president and chief executive officer, said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau renewed the company’s Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) that is equivalent to an exploration permit.
“This is a positive outcome for all stakeholders that will allow the company to expand its exploration program over the broader region around Didipio. We are now reviewing and prioritizing targets and expect to provide clarity around the planned exploration programs in the coming weeks,” Wilkes said.
OceanaGold holds a contract over significant exploration tenements in the Philippines and the FTAA covers approximately 158 square kilometers in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.
Previous geochemical sampling has identified several gold and copper soil anomalies close to the Didipio operation.
Wilkes also said a material increase in mineral resources, mainly because of to the acquisitions last year that gave the Haile and Waihi gold mines a portfolio of high quality assets.
“The company already has a significant mineral endowment and through an extensive exploration program, we are seeking to significantly extend that endowment from our highly prospective exploration tenements in New Zealand, the Philippines and United States,” he said.
On a consolidated basis, the company’s total proven and probable (P&P) reserves stand at 5.46 million ounces of gold (Moz.), 4.51 Moz. of silver and 0.18 metric ton of copper.
Gold reserves have increased 80 percent year-on-year, net of mining depletion, mainly as a result of the additional reserves from the Waihi and Haile gold mines.
The P&P reserves at Didipio were calculated at $1,300 per oz. of gold and $3.20 per pound of copper.
“We will continue to unlock organic value in our business. With continued strong cash flows expected from our operations in 2016 and higher production at even lower costs expected in 2017, the company is well positioned to further increase its resource base organically and through selective external opportunities,” Wilkes said.
“With the granting of our exploration permit renewal in the Philippines, we will now expand our exploration program in 2016 to include the significant opportunities that exist for us there,” he added. JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ