OceanaGold Corporation has transported 3000 tonnes of copper-gold concentrate to port from its Didipio mine in northern Luzon which is under final commissioning.
A total of 9000 tonnes of concentrate has been produced to date and the trucking capacity is being increased to reduce the stockpiles of concentrate in preparation for the first shipment from the port next month.
Ramping up of the process plant continues to track well. Didipio is the first project to be built and commence operations in the Philippines under the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) structure, which is issued to foreign investors owning 100% of a local project.
Earlier this month, the ongoing discussions regarding tax exemptions saw transportation of concentrate temporarily suspended with some of the trucks held by local government agencies. The company was forced to put the first shipment of concentrate on hold.
Under the FTAA, issued by the state agency Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the project with a 25-year term is allowed a five-year tax-free period.
However, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) says miners with FTAAs were not exempt from paying the 2% excise tax, even if their permits gave them a five-year period from the start of commercial operations within which to recover pre-operating expenses.
The Didipio open pit mine is expected to annually produce 100,000 ounces of gold and 14,000 tonnes of copper on average over an estimated 16 year mine life. OceanaGold has a five-year offtake agreement with Geneva-based commodity trader Trafigura for all the copper and gold concentrate output from Didipio.