MANILA, Philippines - Global commodities trader Glencore Plc has completely pulled out of the Tampakan copper-gold project in Mindanao, Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) said over the weekend.
The Tampakan project, which has been dubbed as potentially the biggest foreign investment and which is believed to be one of the largest gold prospects in the world, has faced stiff opposition from local communities and environmental groups, delaying its approval process.
SMI spokesperson Manolo Labor said the company has been informed of the completion of the share sale agreement between Glencore and a unit of its Australian partner Indophil Resources NL.
With the share sale agreement, Indophil Resources is now the 100 percent owner of the project, Labor said.
“Indophil Resources is now the 100 percent owner of the Class A Shares; Glencore now has no further ownership interest in SMI and the Tampakan copper-gold project,” he said.
Despite Glencore’s pullout, which was announced as early as 2014, SMI would continue activities in accordance with the board-approved 2015 work plan and budget.
Indophil had a 37.5 percent stake in SMI, the operator of the project, while Glencore Xstrata Plc. held the remaining 62.5 percent interest in the project.
In January this year, Indophil shareholders approved its acquisition by local firm Alsons Prime Investments Corp. (APIC) of the Alcantara Group.
APIC’s acquisition of Indophil would hike its interest in the $5.9 billion Tampakan copper-gold project.
SMI is still struggling to get the Tampakan project past the approvals process because of permitting and agrarian reform issues. An interagency working group in the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) is working with SMI to resolve the challenges in the advancement of the project.
The contractor is still implementing a minimal work plan focused on the movement of the permitting process and the maintenance of the tenement.
The Tampakan deposit contains an estimated 2.94 billion tons of mineral resource containing 15 million tons of copper and 18 million ounces of gold.
The prospective mine is projected to produce 375,000 tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold per year in the initial mine-life of 17 years, with potential for mine-life extension. – With Iris Gonzales