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Xstrata increases estimates of minerals at its Tampakan copper and gold mine

XSTRATA, the mining group, has boosted an estimate of mineral resources at its $5.2bn (&pound;2.8bn) Tampakan copper-gold project in the southern Philippines to 2.4bn tonnes from 2.2bn, it said yesterday.<br /><br />The mine, considered Southeast Asia&rsquo;s largest undeveloped copper-gold prospect, is now estimated to contain 13.5m tonnes of copper and 15.8m ounces of gold, at a grade of 0.6 per cent copper and 0.2 grams per tonne of gold.<br /><br />Manila is counting on the Tampakan project to help meet its ambitious goal of attracting up to $14.5bn (&pound;8.1bn) in investments into its mining sector by 2013.<br /><br />But just $2.4bn has come in since 2004, with a recent global downturn making it even more difficult for miners to fund exploration projects.<br /><br />Xstrata&rsquo;s new figure compares to a 2007 assessment of 12.8m tonnes of copper and 15.2m ounces of gold at the same grades.<br /><br />The firm aims to start production in 2016, more than two decades after the discovery of the Philippine mine.<br />