Xstrata puts off $5.9bn mine in Philippines until 2019

Swiss miner Xstrata (LON:XTA) is delaying the commercial production of its $5.9 billion Tampakan copper-gold project in the Philippines until 2019, Sagittarius Mines Inc, the firm's local unit, said Wednesday.

Quoting problems of security and with the government, Sagittarius Mines said the Tampakan project, considered one of the world's largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits, has faced several "challenges" since it originally scheduled operation to begin in 2016.

Some of the difficulties include the local government's 2010 ban on open pit mining and the national government's failure to issue an environmental compliance certificate that would overturn the ban.

The miner also referred to "security issues" at the site, alluding to armed groups that have attacked mine workers and contractors.

"If local government endorsement and final approvals from the national government are forthcoming… construction could potentially commence in 2015, enabling commercial production in 2019," the statement said.

Located in the southern island of Mindanao, the Tampakan mine is expected to produce about 375,000 tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold annually over a 17-year period, according to the company's website.

The mine will be Philippines' largest ever foreign investment.