Open pit mining likely in Tampakan project

Open pit mining likely in Tampakan project

Latest studies done on the Tampakan project of Sagittarius Mines Inc. suggested that open pit mining is the best method to extract copper and gold deposits in the area, company officials said.

Tony Robbins, managing director of Indophil Resources NL, said that based on the pre-feasibility study work program completed in September, open pit mining was the recommended scheme in extracting gold and copper deposits in the area.

According to the same study, the Tampakan project is a world class, two billion-ton resource, containing 11.6 million tons of copper and 14.6 million ounces of gold at a 0.3 percent copper cut-off grade.

“However, with a total resource estimate of almost two billion tons, it is not unreasonable to anticipate a considerably longer mine life. A block cave (underground) option has been investigated and has not been completely ruled out,” clarified Robbins.

Indophil owns 95 percent of the Tampakan project and the rest by Filipino firm Alsons Corp.

Groups backed by the local Catholic Church, opposed to the project, have repeatedly warned that the proponents would employ open pit mining, a situation they say will cause irreparable damage to the environment.

Eliezer Billanes, chairman of Soccsksargends Agenda, said open pit mining method will turn the mountains upside down.

Soccsksargends Agenda stands for South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos City, Davao del Sur Alliance for Genuine Development.

“An environmental catastrophe looms over our head and the future generation if such (open pit) method will be employed by the firm,” Billanes said.

Once full blast mining operations start possibly by 2009, Robbins said 3,500 people will be hired.

Presently, Sagittarius is gearing towards a definitive feasibility study stage, which would be funded by global mining giant Xstrata Queensland Limited (Xstrata Copper), a subsidiary of Xstrata Plc., at a tune of $30 million.

Xstrata Copper has an option to acquire 62.5 percent of the Tampakan project.

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