SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Following President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’ and DTI Secretary Fred Pascual’s successful visit to Melbourne, which yielded USD1.53 billion in business agreements, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Sydney (PTIC Sydney), lauded the recent grant of a mining permit to Perth-based Celsius Resources.

The permit was awarded to Celsius Resources’ Philippine subsidiary,  Makilala Mining Company, Inc. (MMCI), for its flagship Maalinao-Caigutan-Biyog (MCB) Mining Project, located in the Cordillera Administrative Region in the Philippines. 

On 15 March 2024, the Philippine government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), granted MMCI a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA). This mining permit grants the company exclusive rights to explore, develop, and commercially produce copper and associated minerals within a designated 2,500-hectare contract area. It grants MMCI exclusive rights for 25 years, with a possibility of a 25-year renewal. Notably, this MPSA marks the first copper project initiated in the Philippines in the last fifteen years.

During his visit to Melbourne, President Marcos Jr. addressed the Australian business community, highlighting the Philippines’ vision to become a regional hub for smart and sustainable manufacturing. He emphasized the country’s focus on attracting sustainable-driven strategic investments, particularly in critical mineral processing, while ensuring adherence to strict labor and environmental standards.

Celsius Executive Chairman Atty. Julito R. Sarmiento expressed enthusiasm about the issuance of the mining permit, noting it was eagerly anticipated by Celsius and the Balatoc Community. “Now is our chance to deliver on our firm commitment to work with the Government and the local communities to develop the MCB Project in a sustainable manner that creates value not only for our shareholders but also for our communities,” he said.

Sarmiento further added that their Project aims to exceed mere compliance, seeking a balance between business viability, environmental protection and rehabilitation, and upliftment of local communities as they support the government’s socio-economic agenda. He expressed confidence in making the project happen under the leadership of President Marcos Jr.

Meanwhile, Celsius Managing Director Peter Hume emphasized that the grant of the mining permit to MCB signifies Celsius’ transition from an exploration company to a mineral resource developer and, ultimately, a mine operator. Over the last eighteen months, Celsius has attracted significant interest from potential investors who were awaiting the issuance of the mining permit. With the MPSA now secured, the company will finalize funding options for the MCB Project. ♦

Date of release: 23 March 2024