Sagittarius Mines to pursue exploration despite NPA attack

Gerardo Laviste, Sagittarius resident manager, also reaffirmed the firm’s commitment to pursue the development of the  copper-gold project in the towns of Tampakan, Columbio in Sultan Kudarat and Kiblawan in Davao del Sur.

“It was, indeed, a very sad incident. However, despite the incident we remain strongly committed to the development of the Tampakan project in partnership with the government and the local communities,” he added.

In a statement released late Thursday, the company said it incurred losses amounting to P12 million when New People’s Army guerrillas swooped down on their base camp in Barangay Tablu in Tampakan, South Cotabato on New Year’s Day, and burned the base camp’s administration building and six other smaller structures.

The Communist Party of the Philippines’s spokesperson, Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, claimed Wednesday that it was indeed the NPA which conducted the raid. The raiding team also confiscated communication equipment and firearms of the guards.
Laviste said the company was still assessing the information from various sources to determine why the guerrillas were able to pull off the attack and the exact extent of damage.

“Among other key factors, the resumption of operations will strongly consider the community’s support to improve the security in the area,” Laviste said.

Sagittarius Mines Inc. is backed by global mining player, Xstrata Copper, as its top investor and the Australian firm Indophil Resources NL as another partner.

Senior Supt. Robert Kiunisala, South Cotabato police director, said on Friday that the police has prepared criminal complaints, including a charge of arson, against the NPAs that perpetrated the attack.

He blamed the attack on the NPA’s Front 76 leader, Emmanuel Fernandez alias “Kumander Bobo”.
Kiunisala has appealed for the cooperation of the company and other witnesses for the case to prosper in court. (MindaNews)