Tony Robbins, managing director of Indophil Resources NL, said this was based on a prefeasibility study completed last September. Indophil owns 95 percent of the Tampakan project and the rest by Alsons Corp., a Filipino company led by the Alcantara family.
The study said the mining area — which covers Tampakan in South Cotabato, Columbio in Sultan Kudarat and Kiblawan in Davao del Sur — has a world class, two billion-ton resource, containing 11.6 million tons of copper and 14.6 million ounces of gold at a 0.3 percent copper cut-off grade.
But Robbins said that the “block cave” method, which involves underground operations, has not been ruled out because the mine site could be operated for a long because of the huge amount of mineral deposits.
Groups opposed to mining operations in the area have repeatedly warned that the mining proponents would employ open pit mining, which they say will cause irreparable damage to the environment.
“An environmental catastrophe looms over our head and the future generation if such [open pit] method will be employed by the firm,” said Eliezer Billanes, chairman of South Cotabato, [North] Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos City, Davao del Sur Alliance for Genuine Development (Soccsksargends Agenda).
Robbins said that they will hire 3,500 people, mostly locals to do the hard labor, once mining operations go full blast by 2009.
Sagittarius Mines, Inc., which is representing the Australian company Indophil in the latter’s operations at Tampakan, will be conducting a definitive feasibility study stage costing $30 million.