PHILEX Mining Corp., one of the country’s biggest gold producers, said Friday it has pushed back mining operations in one of its prospective mineral reserves at Padcal mine, in the northern Philippine province of Benguet.
In a telephone interview, Philex Mining President and CEO Eulalio Austin, Jr. said the start of mining at the 800-600 meter level (ML) of Padcal has been moved to 2018 instead of 2017 as earlier scheduled.
Austin, however, clarified that there was no delay in mining operations, saying that the decision is aimed to lessen the capital expenditures for 2016 while awaiting the final exploration results of the Bumolo project.
“There’s no delay,” he stressed. “We just want to maximize our operation, which is being undertaken in three different levels.”
Philex is currently mining at 908 ML with 61.2 million metric tons (mmt) of ore at 0.22 percent copper grade and 0.349 gram of gold per ton; 798 ML with 46.2 mmt of ore at 0.20 percent copper and 0.357 gram of gold per ton; and 782 ML with 40 mmt of ore at 0.22 percent copper and 0.368 grams of gold per ton.
The 908 ML should have been mined out at the end of 2015. However, the broken reserves of some collapsed draw points at the level, which were not included in the Oct. 2015 disclosure, will now be mined at 890 ML providing a remaining reserve of 0.7 million tons, Philex Mining said.
The mineral reserves at 800-600 ML are seen extending Padcal’s mine life by two more years to 2022 from 2020, while the Bumolo project is currently under study.
Philex Mining earlier announced “encouraging” results from its ongoing drilling at the Bumolo porphyry copper-gold project in Benguet that could potentially extend further its mining operations at the adjacent Padcal mine beyond 2022.
Meanwhile, Philex Mining said that copper price is seen to reach $2.73 – $2.80 per pound in 2017 to 2022 as forecasted by the World Bank and the UK-based Economic Intelligence Unit-The Economist Group.
The price of gold, on the other hand, is seen to reach $1275 – $1290 per ounce in 2017 to 2019, as noted by the Deutsche Bank and EIU-The Economist Group. JAMES GALVEZ