Xstrata £3.8bn Filipino project gets environmental go ahead

XSTRATA’S $5.9bn (£3.8bn) mining project in the Philippines has been given the green light by the local environment department, removing a key hurdle delaying work on the copper-gold mine.

The Tampakan project has been held up by a 2010 ban on open-pit mining imposed by the provincial government of South Cotabato because of its harmful effects on the environment.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines yesterday issued an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to Sagittarius Mines – the Philippines-based subsidiary of FTSE 100-listed Xstrata – although with certain conditions.

The firm must “mitigate possible adverse impacts of the project on the community health, welfare and the environment”, according to the ECC. Sagittarius is now reviewing the conditions. The company, however, still needs at least three more local permits before construction work can begin.

Sagittarius is majority-owned by Xstrata Copper, the world’s fourth- largest copper producer.

The 9,605-hectare Tampakan project, on the southern island of Mindanao, is expected to produce an average annual yield of 375,000 metric tons of the red metal and 360,000 ounces of gold per year.

The mine is predicted to have a 17-year lifespan.