Conflicting rules stall $5.9 billion mine

Government regulation and approval problems have forced Xstrata’s Philippine unit to delay the $5.9 billion Tampakan copper-gold mine.

Xstrata is now aiming to start production at the mine in 2019 after a freeze on mining deals and conflicting rules slowed development.

Sagittarius Mines, part owned by Australia’s Indophil Resources, says it hopes to start construction on site by 2015, despite production originally being scheduled for 2016.

According to Reuters the Tampakan project would be the single largest foreign investment in the Philippines, but has been delayed due to a 2010 ban on open-pit mining.

While the Government of South Cotabato province has enforced the ban, the rules contradict national law, and the regulation difficulties have caused headaches for other companies in the sector.

According to Reuters the Tampakan mine is estimated to contain 15 million tonnes of copper and 17.6 million ounces of gold.

Overall the Philippines is estimated to house almost $850 billion in untapped natural resources.

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