OceanaGold gives up Didipio project


BAGUIO CITY — A mining company is temporarily giving up its operations in Didipio, Kasibu town in Nueva Vizcaya, saying the global financial meltdown has affected its business decisions.

OceanaGold, in a media advisory, announced Monday it has “placed the Didipio Gold-copper project in Nueva Vizcaya on care and maintenance following the completion of the strategic review that began in July.”

Admitting it has been affected by the deteriorating global financial crisis, OceanaGold’s CEO Stephen Orr said the global economic conditions require prudent measures to secure and preserve its assets in the Philippines.

“We recognize the inherent value that the Didipio project and our exploration portfolio in the Philippines represent for shareholders but the uncertainty around current financial markets dictates that we affect this strategy,” Orr said.

The company will focus on its New Zealand gold operations it expects to increase production in the fourth quarter of 2008, where the production is predicted between 280,000 to 300,000 ounces priced at US$475 per ounce.

“In these uncertain times, we are focused on maximizing revenue and reducing expenditures to further strengthen the Company’s financial position for the near-term,” Orr said.

Meanwhile, Kalikasan-PNE said OceanaGold’s admission of poor economic condition is “proof that their operations were not economically feasible as the company had projected in the past.”

But the group said the greater factor that led to the company’s failure is the growing resistance and opposition against OceanaGold by the local communities.

“Since the early stage, the indigenous peoples in Nueva Vizcaya have been opposing the project of OceanaGold. The community resistance further escalated due to the human rights violations, landgrabbing, economic displacement and environmental destruction done by OceanaGold in the process of developing its project,” Kalikasan-PNE’s Clemente Bautista said.

In fact, he said, the failure of OceanaGold and of other mining projects such as the Rapu-rapu Polymetallic Project in Albay province are “just a couple of illustrations of how mining corporations and activities are bound to collapse due to the fervent opposition of the people, backed up by the present global situation.”

“This should serve as a warning to other companies and investors, how they should think twice before planning to loot our country’s mineral wealth,” Bautista said.

OceanaGold is just one step shy from totally closing down. In the past, OceanaGold has loaned millions of dollars that have now become insurmountable for the company to repay. During its ‘care and maintenance’ stage, the company will only continue to incur and accumulate losses,”

OceanaGold currently operates in the South Island of New Zealand and in the Philippines. Company assets encompass New Zealand’s largest gold mine at Macraes, which includes the recently commissioned Frasers Underground operation, Reefton Gold Mine also in New Zealand and the Didipio Gold-Copper Project in north Luzon.

OceanaGold is listed on the Toronto, Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges under the symbol “OGC,” according to its media statement. # Northern Dispatch

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