MANILA, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The Philippine unit of Australia-listed Lafayette Mining (LAF.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Tuesday it was in serious talks with at least three foreign groups willing to take over its mine in the centre of the archipelago.
Lafayette Philippines, whose parent company in Australia entered voluntary administration last month to avoid bankruptcy, also said it was preparing to ship almost $5 million worth of copper concentrates to China later this week.
"This shipment belies reports of our bankruptcy and closure. We have not laid off employees and will not lay off anyone," Bayani Agabin, Lafayette spokesman, said in a statement.
"We are only going through rehabilitation which will allow us to continue operating and employing people while raising additional capital," he said.
Lafayette was the first foreign firm to operate a mine in the Philippines after a law granting full foreign ownership of local projects was upheld by the courts in late 2004.
But two cyanide spills in 2005 shut the mine for more than a year, causing huge financial strain on its Australian owner and stunting the mining sector's revival in the Philippines.
The Rapu Rapu mine, with its 1,000-strong workforce, was forecast to generate net cash operating income of $52 million on gross revenues of $105 million in its 2007/08 fiscal year ending in June.
Lafayette Philippines is set to export 2,700 dry metric tonnes of copper concentrates to China this week.It is the company's sixth shipment to China since it started exporting copper in April last year following the resumption of its mine operations, which were controversially shuttered after two cyanide spills.