Xstrata will proceed with a $5.2bn copper-gold project in the Philippines despite a proposed law banning open-pit mining in the country.

The proposed law aims to ease environmental concerns by the legislative council of South Cotabato province in southern Philippines.

The Tampakan open-pit mine venture was opposed by local residents who feared the mine could pollute a major river irrigating farms.

Xstrata’s Philippine affiliate Sagittarius Mines spokesman John Arnaldo said the company will proceed with public discussions and technical studies.

According to Reuters, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said Xstrata could continue its pre-development work on the mine until the ban takes effect.

Provincial Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes is likely to approve the ban, which will probably take effect on 30 June.

The Tampakan mine has an estimated resource of 2.2 billion tons containing 12.8 million tons of copper and 15.2 million ounces of gold.