World’s 5th largest mining firm drawn to Diwalwal

World’s 5th largest mining firm drawn to Diwalwal

STATE-RUN Natural Resources Mining Development Corp. (NRMDC) is seeking a joint venture partner to develop a mining project in the Mount Diwalwal gold rush area in Mindanao.

NRMDC, a unit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, plans to auction the project before yearend, or as soon as it completes a feasibility study detailing the mineral reserves of the Diwalwal gold site in Compostela Valley province.

According to the company’s initial estimates, the site may have a mine life of 20 years.

NRMDC president Artemio Disini said interested investors from Australia, China, and the US had been inquiring on the prospects of Diwalwal even before the bidding was announced.

The gold rush site has drawn the attention of South Africa’s Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd., the world’s fifth-biggest gold producer.

Greg Job, manager of Harmony’s new business and exploration unit, said he visited the Mount Diwalwal site this week.

In the 1980s, Diwalwal was a mining town with more than 30,000 people illegally engaged in small-scale mining.

Job said he believed development of the site might entail $150 million in investments.

Disini said he hoped that with foreign equity infusion the project would become fully operational by 2008.

Christine A. Gaylican, with Reuters, and

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