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OceanaGold still waiting on formal order over Didipio dispute

The Didipio copper-gold mine is located 270 km north of Manila. (Image courtesy of OceanaGold)

OceanaGold (TSX: OGC) said on Monday that it has not received any formal order from the Philippines Court of Appeals regarding its request to allow interim operations at the Didipio gold-copper mine.

The company applied for an injunction in July 2019 as a temporary measure to operate while it challenges the legality of the order issued by the governor of Nueva Vizcaya province to restrain activities at Didipio pending renewal of the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).

OceanaGold said that it has recently been made aware – from social media –that the Court of Appeals has denied its application for an injunction and the company is seeking confirmation.

Didipio has a Measured and Indicated resources of 1.3 million ounces of gold and 160,000 tonnes of copper

Since July 2019, local government units from the province have blocked access to and from the Didipio mine site.

Authorities claim they have been largely bypassed in the permit renewal process, which existing laws place under the national government’s realm.

Later in July 2019, the company suspended underground mining at the site, located 270 km north of the capital of Manila.

“If the denial of the injunction is in fact accurate, the company will continue to defend its right to operate the Didipio Mine in the interim whilst it completes the FTAA renewal process,” the company said in a press release.

“To this end, OceanaGold intends to follow the usual appeal process with the Court of Appeals, and if necessary, to the Supreme Court of the Philippines.”

The company argues that the local government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160) does not grant the power or authority to the provincial
governor to restrain any aspect of the Didipio Mine operations.

OceanaGold said that it will continue to work with the national government to finalise the renewal of the FTAA and remain open to the opportunity to engage with the provincial governments.

Didipio, which began production in 2013, has Measured and Indicated resources of 1.3 million ounces of gold and 160,000 tonnes of copper.

Midday Monday, OceanaGold’s stock was down 3.5% on the TSE. The company has a C$2.04 billion market capitalization.