OceanaGold denies Didipio mine halt

The Didipio accommodation site. Image: OceanaGold

OceanaGold has labelled recent reports that it has halted operations at its Didipio copper-gold mine in the Philippines as false.

Non-governmental organisation, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, claimed operations had halted at the mine, adding that a local governor was seeking to suspend OceanaGold’s operations in the country’s Nueva Vizcaya region.

OceanaGold responded to the claims, stating the local regulatory authority – the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) – had sent the company confirmation the mine was permitted to continue operations pending a financial or technical assistance agreement (FTAA) renewal from the Philippine Government. OceanaGold lodged its FTAA application in March 2018.

“The company is committed to operating in accordance with the law and will always comply with its responsibilities under its contract with the Philippine government,” OceanaGold stated.

Didipio, located on the island of Luzon, was acquired by OceanaGold through a merger in 2006 and commenced production in 2013. It employs roughly 1500 people, 95 per cent of whom are Filipino.

The mine has a measured and indicated resource of 1.3 million ounces of gold and 160,000 tonnes of copper, and a 2019 production guidance of 120,000130,000 ounces of gold and 14,000–15,000 tonnes of copper.

“The Didipio mine has delivered significant socio-economic benefits to the Barangay of Didipio, neighbouring communities, the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino and the Philippines,” OceanaGold continued.

OceanaGold has overcome conflict with the Philippines Government in the past, including a 2017 plan by former environment and natural resources secretary Regina Lopez to suspend several mining operations in the country.

Controversial president Rodrigo Duterte has also voiced his disapproval of the country’s mining industry on various occasions.

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