Tampakan mining project to start full operations by 2026
MINING firm Sagittarius Mines, Inc. targets to go full swing with the operations of the Tampakan copper-gold project in South Cotabato province by 2026.
“We would like to have it maybe 2026 for us to really say that under the technical definition, it’s really operating,” Sagittarius Mines President and Chief Executive Officer Roy O. Deveraturda told reporters at a media lunch on Monday.
Mr. Deveraturda said the construction of facilities as well as engineering and design works have started.
The Tampakan project is said to be among the largest untapped minefields in Southeast Asia. The site is estimated to contain 15 million tons of copper and 17.6 million tons of gold.
“Tampakan project is one of the best projects in the world, meaning in terms of resource, in terms of the cost of operating,” Mr. Deveraturda said, also citing its capital expenditure and sustained spending.
Under the terms of a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA), Sagittarius Mines’ project covers 25,371 hectares. The project was halted in 2010 after the provincial government’s ban on open-pit mining.
Mr. Deveraturda said 10 years ago, the company was ready to proceed with the project.
“We have all the permits and approvals necessary for operating the company. However, there are of course some issues,” he said.
In May 2022, the provincial government lifted the ban, which paved the way for the project to continue.
Mr. Deveraturda said the mining site is “ready to operate” but developing it before the full operation will take two to three years.
He also said the requirements for the project have been completed such as feasibility studies and permits, including the environmental compliance certificate.
“It takes a long time. Akala nila (They thought), once it starts, you just dig. No, it’s not like that. It’s been a very complicated stage,” he said. “It requires big work and a lot of technical expertise and financial muscle.”
Sagittarius Mines External Affairs and Communications Manager Roy D. Antonio said the company had invested P32 billion in the project since 1995.
Of the investment, P2 billion was allocated for corporate social responsibility initiatives as well as social development and management program. Funds also went to the technical, environmental, and social aspects of the project.
“It’s a substantial amount,” Mr. Deveraturda said about the investments and the expenses. “But the big portion of the investments will go to the development and production.”
By Sheldeen Joy Talavera
April 5, 2023