There's a lot of investment money today looking to buy big copper deposits. And events late last week suggest such investors may have some major new targets soon.
In the Philippines; A place with world-leading copper deposits -- which has been isolated from the mining world in recent years because of difficult politics.
That looks set to change though with government officials revealing they are about to issue a landmark decision on one of the country's biggest development projects. Related: U.S. Production Finally Starting To Drop Significantly
Reuters reported that the country's Mines and Geosciences Bureau is close to issuing a "notice to proceed" for the King-King copper-gold project, on the country's southern island of Mindanao. With officials from the Bureau telling an industry conference on Friday that the decision should be issued by "mid-November."
An approval for the King-King project would be a major development for the Philippines mining industry because it would represent the first new mine permitted in the country since 2012.
Since that time, King-King and a host of other deposits have been locked up in political wrangling between states and the central government, bringing new mine development to a standstill. Related: Low Oil Prices Could Persist Through 2016
Last week's announcement suggests that some of those issues may now be solved. And that could unlock some very attractive assets across the country.
King-King itself is a massive ore body, hosting 1.15 billion tonnes of mineralization, grading 0.25 percent copper and 0.32 g/t gold. The project is advanced-stage, having already seen drill definition and a preliminary feasibility study.
The progress here could also be good news for other major Philippines projects like the Tampakan copper-gold deposit which holds a world-leading 2.9 billion tonnes of mineralization at 0.51 percent copper and 0.2 g/t gold -- but has also gone undeveloped due to permitting issues. Related: Major Oil And Gas M&A News That Has Yet To Make The Headlines
Interestingly, the co-owner of the Tampakan project -- Australia's Indophil Resources -- was taken over in January through a $360 million buyout from Philippines investment firm Alsons Prime, perhaps showing that local insiders sensed a thaw in mine permitting coming.
All of which suggests this is a place to look for big deposits and exploration projects. Watch for further permitting details here -- and more incoming mining investments -- to confirm the trend.
Here's to buried treasures,
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