Drilling with a lightweight JCP rig at Intex Resources’ Mindoro Nickel Project.
Drilling with a lightweight JCP rig at Intex Resources’ Mindoro Nickel Project.

INTEX Resources is advancing along the path towards making the Mindoro Nickel Project a more Philippines’ orientated operation in order to advance it towards production. “Mindoro Nickel belongs to the Philippines and therefore we follow the path to get there,” says Intex CEO Henno Grenness.

He says for some time Intex has worked to find partners, investors and an operator for the project. In addition to the previous process, traction and interest has been achieved. “It is a large and economically robust project located in the Philippines, in which the current administration is moving slowly on its mining policy.

“Creating necessary social acceptability for mining projects in the Philippines is a challenge for several projects in the country, including Mindoro. It is the company’s view that the importance of correctly handling permitting issues and social acceptability has been somewhat underestimated by the company - this is now improving.

“This includes reinstatement of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) as a first step, although it needs to be amended to fit current plans. We observe that most international companies in the industry pair up with local firms and other stakeholders as a tool to solve domestic challenges.

“In 2011 and 2012, the company was simultaneously searching for international partners, operators and local partners but is now of the opinion that local issues should have been solved first. This strategy is now being implemented, which is expected to uplift the value going forward. In addition, the former strategy consumed resources and managerial capacity, and has delayed development of the company, including setting aside resources to expand and build the project portfolio.”

He says the strategy forward is refined and Intex will bring in a local partner before an operator. “By doing so, the company will be able to solve domestic challenges in full cooperation with its local partner. This is expected to create value for both parties prior to the stage where an operator/other partners enter into to the project. In order to achieve the highest possible end value, the company is of the opinion that it needs to share the first part of the upside potential with a local partner.”

Intex also aims to finance major costs associated with the next phase of the project locally in the Philippines. It foresees a gradual reduction of its ownership through share sale and equity investments sourced from one or more partners/investors/directors in the Philippines. If an exchange listing is preferred as ownership structure, a Philippine listing may be perceived as more attractive over other exchanges.

“Intex aims to re-initiate dialogue with operators when it has reached its goals together with a local partner, and the timing is not yet decided, but pending on the outcome of the work domestically in the Philippines may happen sooner than later. We believe that making our subsidiary and the Mindoro project a more Philippine company in the style we operate will be a great improvement,” says Henno Grenness.