GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Australian firm Indophil Resources NL has acquired the remaining stake of Filipino conglomerate Alsons Corporation in the massive Tampakan copper-gold project straddling three Mindanao provinces, the foreign company said.

Gavan Collery, Indophil corporate affairs manager, said they issued 25.9 million shares to Alsons last month as consideration for the acquisition of Alsons 3.27 percent interest in the Tampakan project.

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This would bring to 37.5 percent Indophil's interest in the Tampakan project, Collery said.

Xstrata Copper, the world's fourth largest copper producer, holds the remaining 62.5 percent controlling interest in the Tampakan project.

The Tampakan project is pursued by Sagittarius Mines Incorporated, the Philippine company holding the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement granted by the government.

Anita Krauser, Indophil company secretary, said that Alsons' 3.27 percent interest in the Tampakan project will be registered to Indophil upon compliance to standard Philippine procedures.

Indophil secured the acceleration of its acquisition of Alsons' 3.27 percent interest in the Tampakan project by agreement with Alsons December 1, Krauser said.

The issue of 25.9 million shares to Alsons completes Indophil's obligations to Alsons in relation to the acquisition, she added.

Alsons could not be reached for comment on this development.

Originally, Alsons holds a five percent stake at Sagittarius but forged an agreement with Indophil to acquire it in staggered basis upon certain project milestones. The first milestone allowed Indophil to raise its interest in the Tampakan project to 34.23 percent, from 32.5 percent.

Indophil's acquisition of Alsons remaining shares of 3.27 percent is part of the condition of Chinese giant Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd, the largest gold producer and the third largest copper producer in China, in taking over the Australian firm.

Indophil's major asset is its stake in the Tampakan project, which is facing stiff social opposition from the local Catholic Church and security threats from the communist New People's Army.

In at least two occasions since 2008, the communist guerillas launched successful armed attacks against Sagittarius in the town of Tampakan in South Cotabato.

The Tampakan project also straddles the municipalities of Columbio in Sultan Kudarat and Kiblawan in Davao del Sur.

Zijin offered to buy out Indophil through Golden Resource Mining Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary, at A$1.28 per share, or at a value of approximately A$545 million on a fully-diluted basis.

Golden Resource was incorporated on October 15, 2009 in the British Virgin Islands and has not carried on any business other than making the offer, Zijin said in its bidder’s statement lodged at the Australian bourse.

Zijin's tender offer, which would end on March 19 unless extended, has been recommended by Indophil's directors in the absence of a superior offer.

Recently, Collery said that the Australian government's Federal Treasurer, upon the recommendation of the Foreign Investment Review Board, approved the bid of Zijin to acquire Indophil.

The Tampakan project has estimated resources of 2.4 billion tons at a grade of 0.6 percent copper and 0.2 grams per ton gold, containing 13.5 million tons of copper and 15.8 million ounces of gold, using a 0.3 percent copper cut-off grade, the latest company study said.