Philippine Daily Inquirer, Money / Breaking News
MANILA, Philippines -- Operators of the Rapu Rapu mining project in the Philippines have filed a court petition seeking protection from creditors and disclosed Wednesday that negotiations with a Korean investor were underway.
The petition comes less than two months after Australia's Lafayette Mining Ltd. decided to come under voluntary administration. Lafayette has a 74 percent interest in the Rapu Rapu polymetallic project in Albay province in the southern part of Luzon, the Philippines' main island.
Following Australian rules, the two administrators appointed to take control of Lafayette Mining have been tasked to find ways to lighten the company's debt burden through the sale or restructuring of bank debts or by raising new capital.
"The petition was deemed necessary by the Filipino management team to protect local interests since negotiations with the Korean group and the Australian administrator that is now supervising the project's mother company might take some time," the group said in a statement.
Lawyer Bayani Agabin, spokesman for the group, said the potential agreement might require the unidentified Korean investor to put in more funds for equity, operations, and debt restructuring.
Agabin said the group sought the court reprieve to conserve its funds for operations and to continue the employment of its roughly 1,000-strong workforce.
"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," he said.
Rapu Rapu operators previously said the project was expected to produce copper, gold, silver and zinc valued at 350 million US dollars over a six-year period.