New Tampakan mayor vows support to mining ventuer

“I’m pro-development. Regarding mining, if it will enhance the potentials of Tampakan, if it will be an instrument for our town to be more progressive and developed, then why not?” he said.

The younger Barroso’s stand on mining reflects his father’s. The elder Barroso had admitted to reporters that the family has a “minimal stake in the mining venture.”

The son, accused as mastermind in the killing of a political rival last year but acquitted, also vowed to continue the socio-economic programs of his father.

The younger Barroso, who served as the town’s administrator prior to his election, stressed that “God-given resources should be utilized to help improve the lot of the people.”

He expressed confidence the mining venture would propel the development of the locality, a sleepy town about 40 minutes from this city.

But Barroso stressed his administration will closely monitor mining activities in the town to minimize environmental effects of the venture staunchly opposed by the local Catholic Church.

Straddling the municipalities of Tampakan in South Cotabato, Kiblawan in Davao del Sur, and Columbio in Sultan Kudarat, proponents said the Tampakan project is one of the biggest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in Southeast Asia.

Definitive feasibility study is being pursued by major global mining firm Xstrata Copper, which assumed management control in March following its decision to exercise an option agreement with Indophil Resources NL.

Xstrata Copper exercised its option to acquire 62.5% of the controlling interest in Tampakan on December 21, 2006.

Indophil previously controlled 95% of the project but its exposure was reduced to 32.5% following Xstrata’s exercise of the option. However, Indophil has an agreement in place with Filipino partner Alsons Corp. that will raise the former’s stake in the Tampakan project to 37.5%.

Xstrata has set the completion of the feasibility study by next year. That will be the basis if the deposits would be excavated or not.

Pre-feasibility studies completed by Indophil last September at a cost of Au $27 million confirm a mineral resource of almost 2 billion tons, containing 11.6 million tons of copper and 14.7 million ounces of gold at a 0.3% copper cutoff grade, with good further exploration potential. (MindaNews)