South Cotabato miner seeks endorsement for production phase

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/24 February)—A foreign-backed gold and silver mining project in T’boli town is asking for the endorsement of the South Cotabato Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to go on commercial stream, officials confirmed on Friday.

Eumir Ernesto Tiamzon, Tribal Mining Corp. president, said their application for endorsement is up for deliberation by the provincial board.

“We have presented the project as early as last year. We want to go on the production phase,” he told MindaNews.

Canadian firm Cadan Resources Inc. is a major investor in the T’boli gold-silver project. Tribal Mining was granted the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement 090-97-XI covering 84.20 hectares in 1997.

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

An endorsement from the provincial government is one of the requirements before the project can go on commercial stream, said Constancio Paye Jr., regional director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Paye said that Tribal Mining filed with the regional office late last year its “Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility” (DMPF).

“I have endorsed the T’boli gold-silver project to the main office for approval,” he said separately.

Aside from the local government units’ endorsements (provincial, town and barangay) and the approval of the DMPF, an environmental compliance certificate is required before the company can go on commercial mining activities, Paye said.

Board member Ernesto Catedral, chairman of the SP environmental protection committee, said that Tribal Mining requested for an endorsement because it has “finished its exploration activities.”

“The company wants to operate [commercially] the mine and this is being tackled by the committee,” he said.

Reports said that results of the mining firm’s request may be known next week.

Robert Butchart, Cadan Resources president and chief executive officer, said in a statement last month they are working towards the granting of permits that will allow the commencement of gold production.

Cadan Resources has completed the sale of 80% of its interest in the Comval copper-gold project in Compostella Valley to Australian firm Mining Group Limited.

“This transaction represents an important step in the implementation of a new strategy by Cadan, namely to focus on the more advanced and high-grade T’Boli gold and silver project,” Butchart said.

Cadan intends to invest in targeted drilling with the objective of expanding on the present indicated and inferred resources at T’boli, he noted.

An earlier company study showed that the T’boli project has deposits of 2.4 million tons, containing 420,000 ounces of gold and 1.6 million ounces of silver. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)