OceanaGold investing P2.8 billion in Didipio mine

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Australian-Canadian mining firm OceanaGold Corp. is pouring in as much as $50 million (roughly P2.8 billion) in capital investment in its Didipio mine in Nueva Vizcaya this year to sustain its mining operations.

In a report, OceanaGold has set a capital investment of $35 million to $50 million, or around P1.9 billion to P2.8 billion, this year.

The mining firm allotted $4 million to $6 million (P220 million to P330 million) for pre-strip and capitalized mining, $20 million to $25 million (P1.1 billion to P1.4 billion) for general operations and $10 million to $15 million (P550 million to P822 million) for growth.

This sustaining capital “includes a tailing storage facility lift and associated infrastructure plus improvements to on-site accommodation,” OceanaGold said.

Meanwhile, the company is spending $3 million to $5 million (P165 million to P275 million) for exploration of the Didipio mine.

OceanaGold said exploration “will focus on resource conversion drilling and continued definition drilling of the two new mineralized structures recently discovered outside of the current resource.”

For this year, the Didipio mine is projected to produce between 120,000 to 130,000 ounces of gold and 12,000 to 14,000 tons of copper.

“Gold and copper production is expected to be evenly weighted throughout the year,” OceanaGold said.

The gold production from the Didipio mine is roughly 25 percent of its total projected output from its various mines.

Meanwhile, OceanaGold’s projected copper output will entirely come from Didipio mine.

The mining firm also forecasted all-in sustaining costs expected to range between $750 and $850 per ounce this year, higher than the $637 per ounce AISC last year.

“The AISC increase year-on-year is primarily as result of higher sustaining capital and grid supplied energy costs, as well as increases in consumables, labor and other costs as a result of inflation,” it said.

Last year, the Didipio mine produced 113,198 ounces of gold and 14,361 tons of copper, which was in line with guidance for the operation.

“The fourth quarter was the second consecutive quarter in which underground mining operated at full target production rates,” OceanaGold said.

The Didipio mine’s gold output accounted for 24 percent of the mining firm’s total production of 472,201 ounces of gold.

“Full year gold production was approximately 30 percent higher than 2021 due to stronger gold production from the New Zealand operations and the successful ramp-up of operations at Didipio, where target underground mining rates were achieved ahead of schedule in the second quarter of 2022,” OceanaGold said.

The Didipio mine is an underground and open pit with a lifespan of 10 years. It produces gold and silver as dore bars and copper in concentrate, with proven and probable reserves of 1.23 million ounces and measured and indicated resources of 1.41 million ounces.

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