The Manila Times, Business
Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo
Thursday, February 07, 2008
The Rapu Rapu Group of Companies has filed a petition for rehabilitation, as it awaits negotiations with a Korean investor and its parent firm for the infusion of much needed capital.
Bayani Agabin, the group’s spokesman, said the company filed the petition to allow it to conserve its assets, and work out a fair and orderly management of its creditors.
He said the company deemed this necessary to protect local interests since negotiations with a Korean group and the Australian administrator that is now supervising the project’s mother company, Lafayette Mining Ltd., might take some time.
“There are several interested parties but the Korean group has the inside track,” he said without naming any of them.
Australian-listed Lafayette earlier entered voluntary administration or bankruptcy protection after it found that it could no longer meet its financial obligations.
The potential agreement between Lafayette and the Korean group will require the investor to put in more funds for equity, operations, and debt restructuring.
“When the new investments come in and our debts are restructured, then we can resume debt payments. For now, it is in the interest of Albay, the Rapu Rapu community, our employees and other stakeholders, and the environment to make sure our revenues go into funding our operations first,” Agabin said.
The spokesman said that the Rapu Rapu group’s rehabilitation does not mean that it is going broke.
“We are a viable project and continue to operate and employ our people. All we need is a little time to enable the investor to complete its negotiations with the administrator, and put in place a financial plan that will ensure the sustained operations of the project,” he said.
The group runs the Rapu Rapu polymetallic project, an open pit mine producing gold and is also said to contain silver, copper and zinc deposits in Albay. The company maintains a 1,000-strong workforce.