Foreign miner girds for mining production in T’boli

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/14 Oct) – A large-scale gold and silver mining project is expected to start commercial operations soon in T’boli, South Cotabato, a top mining company executive said Thursday.

Robert Butchart, chief executive officer and president of Cadan Resources Corp., said they are continuing their lateral development work along a number of vein systems at its underground T’boli gold-silver mine project.

The company recently determined a second “payrun” of 47 meters averaging 12.2-gram gold over a width of 2.0 meters, it said.

The “payrun” was from 0 to 47m. The next 52m was in sub ore grade mineralization. The last 10m shows increasing grades as the prospective target area is entered. The prospective target area has a strike length of 200m. The development of this second “payrun” indicates that the vein systems are producing results in excess of expectations.

“These ‘payruns’ will help kickstart production once final approvals are granted,” Butchart said in a statement, noting they expect the final permit approvals to come “shortly.”

Cadan Resources and the local Tribal Mining Corp. are pursuing the T’boli project, with the Canadian firm holding a stake of 40 percent.

The T’boli project has deposits of 2.4 million tons, containing 420,000 ounces of gold and 1.6 million ounces of silver, Cadan Resources said earlier.

Excavation of deposits will involve the underground or tunneling method.

The feasibility study for the T’boli gold and silver project started in 2007, although exploration activities kicked off a long time ago.

Hernani Abdon, records and licensing division chief of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 12, said Friday the firm’s mining feasibility declaration has already been endorsed to the national office.

“The main office will be the one to give the final approval,” Abdon said.

Along this process, the main office has asked the mining firm to submit lacking requirement which they have already complied, he added.

Dominador Siloterio, T’boli information officer, said the company has set up mining facilities in the town in preparation for commercial production.

In 1997, Tribal Mining acquired from the government a mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) covering 85 hectares. The agreement has a lifespan of 25 years.

The MPSA area, however, straddles the “minahang bayan” or small-scale mining area, covering 21 hectares, that was declared over a decade ago by the provincial government.

The Court of Appeals earlier ruled that the conflict over rights between the mining firm and the small-scale miners involving the disputed area shall be resolved by a Regional Panel of Arbitrators, which is a quasi-judicial body annexed to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)