Bezant Resources plc has received formal notification that its Mankayan Gold Project in the Philippines is deemed to be situated within a ‘watershed area’, which means the project is subject to possible cancellation by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

This will occur unless, as requested by the authorities, Bezant’s associate Crescent Mining and Development Corporation (CMDC) can demonstrate why it should not be.

Bezant says the news does not come as a total surprise, as Bezant had effectively written off the project in its 2015/16 accounts, but CMDC will, in any case, be providing a response to the DENR.

“We are clearly disappointed by the DENR’s notification with respect to the potential cancellation of CMDC’s Mineral Production Sharing Agreement alongside the 74 other affected MPSAs,” said Bezant chairman Ed Nealon.

“We believe that the DENR has acted without appropriate authority and are further disappointed by the Philippine President Duterte’s support of DENR’s actions.

“We will be responding to the DENR request in due course, but will also take a longer term pragmatic view on the likelihood of a successful outcome, the potential to achieve a future sale or JV for the project and the costs involved in maintaining this non-core project given the current political environment in the Philippines,” he said.

“To date, the company has returned more capital to shareholders than has been spent, in aggregate, on the acquisition, exploration and development of the Mankayan project, funded by the historic option consideration received from Gold Fields Netherlands Services BV.

“We will continue to focus our efforts on our copper and gold exploration project in Argentina and our promising Colombian platinum and gold development project,” Ed Nealon declared.

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