ROYALCO Resources’ exploration activities in the Philippines are on hold pending phase 3 renewal from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). This phase covers the Cableway prospect which is the highest priority target in the Gambang project tenements.
The relevant government agency, MGB, has effectively shut down the processing of tenement renewals despite verbal assurances to the contrary. No indication has been provided as to when this informal moratorium can be expected to be lifted. Of note, several major mining groups have expressed interest in the Gambang project in the past and it is expected this interest will be consummated once renewal is achieved. In the meantime the Gambang tenements have been placed on care and maintenance.
The Gambang tenement area is strategically situated within the Central Cordillera of Northern Luzon in the geological terrane known as the Philippine Mobile Belt. The mineral endowment of the belt is high due to its tectonic setting, offering world-class prospectivity.
Deposits immediately north of this tenement include Far Southeast, Lepanto, Victoria, Guinaoang and Suyoc. To the south lie the old goldfields of Baguio and the porphyries at St Tomas/Santo Ni-o, a belt stretching approximately 50km, with Gambang covering the strategic and under-explored central portion.
The Cableway prospect is centred on the largest of a cluster of gold and copper anomalies that were defined by a soil geochemical survey. The surface alteration comprises minerals that are commonly observed at high-levels in porphyry copper-gold systems.
The rationale for Royalco’s exploration initiatives is to generate royalties and free-carried interests in a portfolio of projects. It is not necessarily the company’s intention to be the operator of any mining project. Third parties would probably be introduced to develop any discovery made.
The downturn in most commodity prices, coupled with a depressed sharemarket for junior explorers, has had the effect of filtering out second ranked projects and allowing for the potential participation in better quality exploration targets. Royalco has reviewed a large number of opportunities, both in Australia and overseas over recent months and the company says announcements of fresh initiatives can be expected in the near term.
Royalco has chosen to extend its asset base by pursuing advanced exploration opportunities to complement cash flows from royalty rights. In its opinion the Filipino tenement package represents one of the most attractive porphyry copper targets globally available, with its particular interests being associated high grade epithermal gold systems.
The company receives income from the Weeks Petroleum Royalty, which is the equivalent of a 0.025% over-riding royalty from the entire hydrocarbon production of the main Bass Strait fields in Australia.