MAC: Mines and Communities

Lafayette's Rapu Rapu project damaged

Published by MAC on 2006-12-01

Lafayette's Rapu Rapu project damaged

The AGe

1st December 2006

Lafayette Mining Ltd's troubled Rapu Rapu polymetallic project in the Philippines has suffered a further setback with a second typhoon causing damage to the operation.

The company said typhoon Reming (also known as Durian) hit the island of Rapu Rapu on Thursday night damaging infrastructure.

"Supertyphoon Reming hit the island of Rapu Rapu in the Bicol region in the Philippines with winds gusting above 200 km/h and mountainous seas lashing the coastline of the operation," Lafayette said.

"Due to the extent of the damage to structures on site, operations at Lafayette Mining Ltd's polymetallic plant and mining operation on the island will be interrupted for a period."

This is the second time a typhoon has disrupted Lafayette's operations at Rapu Rapu, after typhoon Milenyo damaged infrastructure in early October.

Lafayette has requested a trading halt in its shares to assess the implications of the damage.

"Preliminary reports indicate there have been casualties amongst the local population," the company said.

"At this time, there are no reports of injuries to our onsite workforce or damage to our environmental management systems."

Lafayette managing director David Baker, who is overseas, was unavailable for comment but a company spokesman confirmed mining and processing operations had ceased.

"We have temporarily suspended operations while we assess implications of the damage," the spokesman said.

The Rapu Rapu project has been dogged by delays since last year, when operations were suspended following two unscheduled wastewater discharges, for which the company was fined $263,000.

The operation came under the spotlight again when allegations of elevated mercury levels in the waters near the project were falsely attributed to Rapu Rapu.

The project is located on the island of Rapu Rapu which is about 350 kilometres south of the Philippines capital of Manila.

At full production the project is expected to produce about 10,000 tonnes of copper in concentrates, 14,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrates, 50,000 ounces of gold and 600,000 ounces of silver annually.

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