OceanaGold looks at Didipio restart after FTAA approval

15th July 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Philippine government has renewed the Didipio mine Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) for an additional 25-year period, beginning June 19.

Dual listed gold miner OceanaGold this week said that the renewed FTAA reflects similar financial terms and conditions while providing additional benefits to the regional communities and provinces that host the operation.

The FTAA requires an additional 1.5% of gross revenue to be allocated to community development, the reclassification of net smelter return to be an allowable deduction and shared 60%/40%, rather than wholly included in government share, the listing of at least 10% of OceanaGold Philippines on the Philippine stock exchange within the next three years, the subsidiary offering the Philippine Central Bank no less than 25% of its annual gold dore production for sale at fair market price and mutually agreed-upon terms, and the transfer of the subsidiary’s principal office to a host province within the next two years.

“We are pleased to confirm the renewal of the Didipio mine’s FTAA and thank the Philippine government for their endorsement and renewal. We have worked through the renewal process in partnership with the government and regulatory agencies,” said OceanaGold president and CEO Michael Holmes.

“We look forward to commencing restart activities and continuing to work in partnership with our regulators, communities, employees and all stakeholders to contribute to the Philippines’ post-Covid-19 economic recovery.”

OceanaGold has maintained the mine and associated facilities in a state of operational stand-by, with the company telling shareholders this week that its first operational priority is the rehiring and training of its Philippine workforce, which will include a focus on safeguarding workers from the current risks associated with Covid-19.

Details on the restart and the resumption of normal operations at Didipio would be made at a later date, the ASX- and TSX-listed miner said.

The company plans a staged restart of operations with milling to restart as soon as possible using stockpiled ore, of which the operation has approximately 19-million tonnes available.

The miner is hoping to achieve full underground production capacity within 12 months. Once fully ramped-up, Didipio is expected to produce approximately 10 000 oz of gold and 1 000 t of copper per month.