MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Philippines buccaneer backed by Britain

Published by MAC on 2008-08-11

UK firm to invest P500M in Surigao Norte copper gold mine

By Veronica Uy,

4th August 2008

MANILA, Philippines -- A British company is set to invest P500 million [around US$120 million]in a copper gold mine in Surigao Del Norte "if an exploratory mission  successfully discovers sufficient reserves of the precious minerals," the  embassy of the United Kingdom here said Monday.

In a press statement, the embassy said the investment from Anglo-American,  which will be followed by operations in partnership with Philex Mining and  Manila Mining, is expected to create some 2,500 jobs and double local taxes  in the Surigao provinces.

According to the embassy, Anglo-American is one of the biggest mining  corporations in the UK with a solid track record in responsible governance  and sustainable environmental development.

The company plans to invest in a province that is listed among the top 10  poorest in the Philippines.

UK Ambassador to the country Peter Beckingham expressed his support for the  British company's willingness to help local people rise up from poverty  while protecting the environment.

He expressed confidence that Anglo-American is committed to uphold good  relations with the local government and civil society.

"I am confident that the people of Surigao Del Norte would benefit from the  proposed development of a copper/gold mine by Anglo American, the  UK-headquartered mining company," Beckingham told some 100 businessmen in  Surigao City during a recent visit.

"Conversely it would be a sad day for the Philippines and the province if  opposition to Anglo-American's plans prevented the new investment; jobs and  money in the local community would be lost," he said.

In the first visit of a UK ambassador to the province, Beckingham also  visited a number of new tourist developments in Surigao, its ports, and the  Surigao Heritage Centre.

"I heard from the center that a UK adventurer, William Dampier, was one of  the first ever overseas explorers to visit the Philippines and Surigao,  where he landed in 1686. It would be a great full circle if the UK can  return with major investments in this beautiful province in the 21st  century," the top British diplomat in the country said.

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