MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Anglo wants out of RP mine venture - partner

Published by MAC on 2008-11-17
Source: Reuters

MANILA - Anglo American wants to pull out from a gold and copper venture in southern Philippines due to resistance from the local government and residents, its partner Manila Mining said on Tuesday.

It is the second major mining project in the Philippines that the world's fourth-largest diversified mining group is exiting from. It was not clear whether the group is pursuing any other projects in the Philippines.

Officials of Anglo American were not immediately available for comment.

Anglo American said it was exercising its option to terminate a 2007 agreement to fund a pre-feasibility study on the Kalayaan copper-gold project, Manila Mining Corp told the Philippine Stock Exchange.

"Anglo exerted considerable efforts toward community development and relations as it encountered problems in accessing critical areas due to resistance from local government units and residents," Manila Mining said in a statement.

The project sits next to the Boyongan prospect, which Anglo used to control with Philex Mining Corp. Philex said in September it was buying out Anglo's 50 percent stake in the project due to differences in their assessment of the project's viability.

Philex is the Philippines' most valuable listed mining firm.

Anglo had spent $10.82 million for drilling at the Kalayaan mine and for community projects in Surigao del Norte.

But Manila Mining said Anglo was "not entitled to any payment, repayment, fees or consideration for any funding, work or services that it had provided to Kalayaan Copper-Gold Resources Inc or to MMC."

Manila Mining said it would assess its options after it receives Anglo's report, including data accumulated in the last 18 months.

The Philippines has an estimated $1 trillion worth of unexplored copper, gold, nickel and zinc mines, according to government estimates.

But the mining sector's poor environmental record and its failure to share profits during the local industry's heyday in the 1960s and 1970s have left people deeply distrustful of large-scale miners and has tripped up government efforts to attract billions of dollars in mining investments.

The Catholic Church, which is a powerful political player in the Philippines, supports anti-mining campaigns and forced the government to review its investor friendly mining law in 2006.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Ben Tan)

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