Philex to Partner with Freeport Subsidiary

The entry of one of the world’s largest copper producers, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, into Philex Mining’s Sibutad project is expected to lead to the exploration of a potentially huge copper resource in Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. Philex announced early this month that it signed an agreement with PDEPI (Phelps Dodge Exploration Philippines. Inc.), an indirect 40% owned subsidiary of Freeport.

Apart from restoring a pilot gold operation of Philex at Sibutad, Freeport McMoRan—more well known for its copper operations—is reportedly also interested in a copper resource underneath gold at Sibutad, it was reported. “Although they’re looking for gold, they’re also for copper. There is believed to be copper under gold at Sibutad. It should be between 200 to 500 million metric tons,” said an industry official.

Sibutad previously was the site of a pilot-scale heap leaching gold operation starting in 1995 but shutdown in 1999. It is estimated to have a remaining resource of 19 million mt at 1.12 g/mt gold. Sibutad is believed to have high exploration potential with promising presence of porphyry copper in an epithermal vein. Assays at a copper target in Magsaysay prospect reached as much as 19.1% copper, 3.8% zinc, 2.6 g/mt silver, and 0.3 g/mt gold, according to Philex.

As featured in Womp 07 Vol 9 -