Glencore Xstrata, the world’s largest exporter of coal for power stations, plans to cut around 900 mining jobs and reduce monthly expenditure at its $5.9bn Tampakan copper-gold mine in the Philippines.
The Tampakan copper gold mine is located in the southern Philippines province of South Cotaba, about 50km north of General Santos City on the island of Mindanao.
The mine is operated by Sagittarius Mines (SMI), which is owned 62.5% by Xstrata and 37.5% by Indophil.
Project construction was anticipated to start in 2015 with production scheduled to start by 2019; however, due to a series of challenges, the company had to revise the work plan and it is now unsure if it could meet this production deadline.
Sagittarius Mines executive vice-president Justin Hillier said that over the past few months, SMI carried out a review of the project including an assessment of progress to date, ongoing and emerging challenges, and the current approach to advancing the project.
"The outstanding issues and challenges facing the Tampakan Project include the resolution of the South Cotaba to open-pit mining ban, the definition of the pathways to project approvals from all levels of government, and the gaining of consent and the resettlement of impacted communities.
"This plan will reduce current activity levels and expenditure on the project, and regrettably this reduced activity and expenditure will result in staff downsizing and a reduction in the utilisation of contractors," Hillier added.
The monthly expenditure of the mine will be reduced from $4m to $1m.
The mine, which has a lifespan of 17 years, holds 2.94 billion tonnes of resources (16.5 million tonnes of copper and 17.9 million ounces of gold) graded at an average 0.6% copper, 0.2g/t gold and 70ppm molybdenum.
Earlier this year, the Sagittarius Mines received an environmental permit (ECC) from the country’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the project.
The $5.9bn Tampakan mining project is the single largest foreign direct investment in the Philippines and contains the largest undeveloped copper-gold resource in the south-east Asian region.
Image:The $5.9bn Tampakan mining project is operated by Sagittarius Mines. Photo:Sagittarius Mines.