SouthCot minefield yields more gold, silver deposits

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/27 February) – A Canadian mining company has disclosed higher gold and silver reserve at a minefield in T’boli, South Cotabato as commercial production gears towards full stream this year.


Cadan Resources Corp. now pegged the estimated deposit at the T’boli project at 3.8 million tons, containing 1.1 million ounces (Moz) of gold and 3.3 (Moz) of silver.


Previously, deposit at the T’boli project was placed at 2.4 million tons, containing 420,000 ounces of gold and 1.6 million ounces of silver, Cadan Resources said earlier.


Cadan Resources is the foreign partner of Tribal Mining Corp., holder of Mineral Production Sharing Agreement 090-97-XI covering 84.20 hectares that was granted in 1997.


“The mine has begun producing from the stopes and the gold plant is improving throughput, 2013 should be a great year for Cadan as a company and for our shareholders,” Robert Butchart, Cadan Resources president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.


He added that the update estimate has incorporated historical drilling and sampling as well as 7,665 meters of diamond drilling completed in 2011 to 2012.


Butchart said that a drilling program is still ongoing despite commercial productions, and that they expect to file an updated technical report within the third quarter of 2013.


Eumir Ernesto Tiamzon, Tribal Mining president, said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) issued last October an interim Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility that allowed the company to go into commercial production.


The initial commercial production at TMC’s carbon-in-leach processing plant in T’Boli hauled 316oz of gold and 497oz of silver, for a combined sale value of Canadian (Cad) $547,032 or roughly P21.7 million at today’s exchange rate, Butchart said.


The average prices for the metal sold late last year were Cad $1,680/oz for gold and Cad $32.50/oz for silver, he noted.


Deposits at the T’boli project are being mined using the tunneling method. The South Cotabato provincial government has banned open-pit mining method across the province.


Citing the environmental compliance certificate issued to Tribal Mining, Constancio Paye Jr., MGB Region 12 director, earlier said the company is allowed to mine and mill only up to 70,000 metric tons of ore from the project area annually.


The tenement of Tribal Mining straddles the minahang bayan (people’s mining area) declared by the provincial government over a decade ago, under then governor Hilario de Pedro III.


Tribal Mining and the small-scale miners have yet to fully resolve the issue


In 2011, the Court of Appeals had 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.


Last December, Tiamzon said that the mining firm has yet to pursue the case with the quasi-judicial body.


Tiamzon had claimed that under the Small-Scale Mining Act of 1992, small-scale mining operators should ask the consent of the company that holds the tenement. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)