A revised operating plan submitted for the $5.9 billion Tampakan Copper-Gold Project in Mindanao aims to secure crucial government support on key bottleneck issues prior to proceeding to final evaluation and possible development. The plan was submitted by Sagittarius Mines, the operating arm of the project, to project partners Glencore Xstrata and Indophil Resources, and follows a review of the development plan and schedule for the project.
The review investigated the issues and challenges facing the project, including the resolution of the South Cotabato open pit mining ban, the definition of the pathways to project approvals from all levels of government and the gaining of consent to resettle impacted communities.
The Tampakan project, which is majorly held by Glencore Xstrata (62.5%), contains an estimated 2.9 billion tonnes of mineral resource, containing around 15 million tonnes of copper and around 18 million ounces of gold.
Commenting on the revised work plan, Indophil’s CEO Richard Laufmann says, “For some time, Indophil has advocated changes in approach as to how the project partners should work with local stakeholders including the National Government of the Philippines. To do this, Glencore Xstrata, as project manager, has chosen to reset the project and commence with a new outlook.
“Indophil remains in discussions with Glencore Xstrata in respect of specific areas of the revised work plan and related project development plan. In this context, a range of on-the-ground programs designed to advance social-licence-to-operate criteria may be separately supported by Indophil, while Sagittarius, Indophil and Indophil’s in-country shareholders work with government to redefine and reset the pathway to project approval.”
The level of Indophil’s additional expenditure on these programs, outside the revised work plan, is being finalized, though it is not expected to exceed US$1-$2 million in the full financial year.
Sagittarius warned in a media statement that the plan would reduce the current activity levels and expenditure on the project and would result in staff downsizing as well as a reduction in the number of contractors.
“This is not a shutdown of the Tampakan project,” Richard Laufmann says. “As Sagittarius says in its statement, this review is timely. This modification of activity at what is a world-class minerals deposit is temporary, and every effort will be made to restore the work program to its original plan.”
Sagittarius acts as the financial and technical assistance contractor to the Philippines Government which owns the Tampakan asset on behalf of the people of the Philippines.