Mining firm ships only half of plant’s capacity-A A +A
Monday, August 6, 2012
THE Leyte Magnetite Sand Project has shipped only 200,000 tons of mineral concentrates in more than one year, not even half of the plant’s current production capacity.
This was disclosed by the officials of the Leyte Ironsand Corporation said, a partner of Nicua Mining Corporation, adding that they will continue their exploration within the 524 hectares coverage of 25-year Mineral Production Sharing Agreement within the towns of MacArthur and Javier in Leyte.
The agreement, approved December 2010, allows mining firms to explore, develop and extract magnetite sand, and to produce and market magnetite concentrates.
We expect more but results showed that magnetite in the area is very low grade,” said Camila Wang, director of Leyte Ironsand Corporation.
Wang said that majority of their produced have been shipped to China and some were brought to South Korea.
Nicua and Leyte Ironsand’s production facility is capable of processing 500,000 to 600,000 tons of concentrates per year, and aiming to increase to 800,000 to 1,000,000 tons per year depending on available magnetite sand deposits.
The covered area for drilling has combined measured and indicated mineral resources of about 12 million dry metric tons of magnetite concentrate at 10 percent of magnetite fraction.
Wang told Leyte Samar Daily Express they have initially invested $1.5 million in the Leyte project and lost about a million dollar in this venture.
“Mining by itself is capital intensive. Going into this business needs huge capital. This is a long-term investment and we won’t get any return of investment in the next two to three years,” said John See, assistant to the president of the Leyte Ironsand.
The mining operation has been blamed by the community as the culprit of massive fish kill as mine waste reportedly reached fishing grounds of Lake Bito.
Wang denied they are responsible of the environmental destruction since they are very careful not to destroy environment to build the company’s credibility.
“We have been going through so much trouble. We tried to do the right way but there’s always a problem coming out. In Australia, when you get MPSA, you can just go to work and not deal with many people,” the official said, citing their mining experience in Australia.
Meanwhile, Leyte Ironsand officials are still waiting for the release of internal rules and regulations on Executive Order 79 of President Benigno Aquino III before making any comments.
The directive identifies zones closed to mining applications – either for contracts, concessions or agreements including areas in the National Tourism Development Plan, critical areas and island eco-systems, prime agricultural lands, strategic agriculture and fisheries development zones and fish refuge and sanctuaries declared identified by the Department of Agriculture. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)