Gold and copper firm Philex Mining Corp. said Friday it will extend the operation of its underground mine in Padcal, Benguet until the end of 2027 after it identified additional mineable reserves.
“After the completion of confirmatory drillings on the ore body, technical studies on the mining methodology and Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 have successfully identified additional mineable reserves in its Padcal mine that are feasible for mining up to Dec. 31, 2027,” Philex said in a disclosure to the stock change.
Padcal, where copper and gold have been extracted since 1958, is scheduled to cease operation by the end of 2024 after several extensions of its mine life.
Philex said that based on latest technical studies as of end-October, Padcal’s remaining mineable reserves were estimated to be 42 million tons with an average gold and copper grades of 0.22 grams per ton and 0.17 percent, respectively.
The total recoverable gold is estimated to be 233,000 ounces, while the total recoverable copper is estimated to be 127.4 million pounds.
The new estimate includes remaining reserves from the previously declared mineable reserves as of Dec. 31,2021 aggregating to 29.4 million tons, with an average gold and copper grades of 0.23 g/t and 0.18 percent, respectively.
Philex said the new extension of the life of Padcal to 2027 would provide the continuous employment of 1,838 Padcal employees and sustain the necessary assistance given to the social development of the host and neighboring communities.
Philex said with the mine life extension, Padcal’s operations would overlap with Silangan mine’s start of commercial operations.
Philex earlier said it planned to launch its long-delayed Silangan project in Surigao del Norte for commercial operation in the first quarter of 2025, with an initial development cost of $224 million.
Silangan is estimated to be capable of producing 2,000 tons of copper and gold ore per day in the first few years of operations, which will be ramped up gradually in the succeeding years.
Philex said over its 28-year mine life, the total investments in Silagan mine could reach $1.5 billion.
Philex is one of the oldest and largest gold and copper producers in the Southeast Asia.
The mining company reported core net income of P1.54 billion in the first three quarters, down by 17 percent from a year ago. It said the lower profit was “attributable to lower copper price, decreased metal output and higher power rates―despite the efficient deployment of operating costs and expenses.”