CAGAYAN, Philippines – FCF Minerals Corporation, the Philippine subsidiary of UK firm Metals Exploration Plc, will begin the full commercial operation of its gold mine in Quezon town in Nueva Vizcaya, before the end of the year.
Mario Ancheta, regional director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Cagayan Valley, said FCF Minerals has complied with the necessary corrective measures on its multibillion-peso Runruno Gold Project in Quezon town.
MGB issued a partial suspension order on construction works on the project after being damaged by Typhoon Lando (international name Koppu) in 2015. The order was lifted in April 2016.
Ancheta said the commercial operation of the mine was initially set for earlier this year but this had to be pushed back to ensure full compliance with mining regulations.
“The firm’s scheduled commercial operation earlier this year has to be delayed because we cannot allow a mining company to continue for lack of compliance with the requirements based on existing mining laws and regulations,” Ancheta said.
Ancheta said FCF submitted a Declaration of Commencement of Commercial Operations (DCCO) of its gold and molybdenum mining operation.
The DCCO submission means the FCF had already complied with the earlier MGB demand to present a rehabilitation and cleanup plan on the typhoon-damaged facilities.
The project will begin operations after more than a decade of exploration and construction of facilities.
The Runruno Gold Project is expected to produce 96,700 ounces of gold yearly during its operation period of over 10 years.
The project has a capital cost of $149.3 million and estimated average annual operation cost of $46.2 million.
The announcement of the mine’s commercial operations came over a week after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced the completion of its audit on mining operations in the country.
The DENR had recommended the suspension of 20 mining firms, including OceanaGold Phils, Incorporated which is also operating in Nueva Vizcaya.
OceanaGold said there is no formal suspension order yet so it has not stopped its mining and drilling activities in the area.
Mick Wilkes, OceanaGold president and CEO, expressed disappointment over the company’s inclusion in the list of mining firms recommended for suspension.
“We…will seek clarification and reconsideration from the DENR to further understand and rectify this matter in short order,” he said, adding that his company adheres to responsible mining.
Environment Undersecretary Leo Jasareno earlier said the most common violations of the companies recommended for suspension are siltation, dust, no tree-cutting permits, and unsystematic mining methods.
These mining firms have been given a show cause order and will be asked to answer within 7 days upon receipt of the order.
The DENR has already suspended the mining operations of 10 firms, to date. – Rappler.com