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OceanaGold to invest $20m

OceanaGold Corp. said Thursday it will spend $10 million to $20 million to connect the Didipio gold-copper mine in Nueva Vizcaya province to the Luzon power grid. OceanaGold managing director and chief executive Mick Wilkes said in an interview the mining project must be directly connected to the Luzon power grid to ensure uninterrupted operations. “At present, we are only using sets of generators. The long-term plan is to connect the mine to the grid. The reason that we have to do that is that we cannot afford to have a brownout,” Wilkes said. OceanaGold, which started commercial production at the Didipio mine in April, said it had produced 20,553 ounces of gold and 9,373 tons of copper from the project as of June. “For this year we are looking at producing 50,000 to 70,000 ounces of gold and 15,000 to 18,000 tons of copper. Next year, we expect gold production to reach 90,000 ounces and copper to reach 18,000 tons,” Wilkes said. Wilkes said OceanaGold was also looking at possible investments in other parts of the country. “What I would like to do though in the future is to invest in exploration in the Philippines to discover more bodies and then to float on the Philippine Stock Exchange a new mining company that would create more opportunity in the Philippines. But we need to do the exploration first,” Wilkes said. “We are looking at 3,000 hectares in Mindanao and then 7,000 hectares in Northern Luzon. We are looking at 12,000 hectares around Didipio but that is already part of our financial or technical assistance agreement,” Wilkes added. Wilkes said the company was still waiting for the government to approve its exploration permit. “We are very keen to explore more but we have been frustrated by the government not issuing any exploration permit about the last two years,” Wilkes said.
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