KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya: An Australian mining firm operating in this mountain town was granted a five-year extension to the exploration period of its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) in the Philippines.
Mick Wilkes, OceanaGold President and Chief Executive Officer said the five-year FTAA exploration renewal was granted by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and is valid from March 2016 to 2021
“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.
He added that as a recent recipient of the highly prestigious “Most Responsible” mining operation award from President Aquino 3rd, OceanaGold has demonstrated to its stakeholders that it operates to the most stringent social, environmental and safety standards.
OceanaGold holds significant exploration tenements in the Philippines and the FTAA covers approximately 158 square kilometers located in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.
Over the past few years, previous geochemical sampling has identified several gold and copper soil anomalies in close proximity to the Didipio operation.
In the coming weeks, OceanaGold officials said, the company will re-examine and prioritize its drill program for the FTAA bounded area.
At present, the Didipio Copper and Gold Project’s total proven and provable reserves stood at 1.55 million ounces of gold, 3.22 million ounces of silver and 0.18 metric ton of copper, a decrease year-on-year as a result of mine depletion.
Mining engineers said that in 2016, the company will continue to drill near mine targets and, in the second half of the year, will commence infill and extensional drilling of the underground resource.
Wilkes said that with continued strong cash flows expected from their 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.
OceanaGold Corporation is a mid-tier, low-cost, multinational gold producer with assets located in the Philippines, New Zealand and the United States. The company’s assets encompass its flagship operation, the Didipio Gold-Copper Mine in the Philippines.
In 2016, the company expects to produce 385,000 to 425,000 ounces of gold from the combined New Zealand and Didipio operations and 19,000 to 21,000 metric tons of copper from the Didipio operation at all-in sustaining cost of $700 to $750 per ounce.
LEANDER C. DOMINGO