OceanaGold, an Australian mid-tier gold mining company, is set to restart the Didipio mine having secured renewal of an agreement from the Philippine government to enable mining for an additional 25 years.

Operations at the gold and copper mine were halted for nearly two years because of a row with a provincial government over the company’s operating licence. The mine is located across the Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces.

The Philippine government has now renewed the Didipio Mine Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA), which comes into effect retrospectively from 19 June 2019.

According to OceanaGold, the renewed FTAA replicates similar financial terms and conditions while giving additional benefits to the regional communities and provinces hosting the mining operation.

One of the benefits includes the equivalent of an additional 1.5% of gross revenue from the mining operations to be allocated by the company towards community development.

OceanaGold president and CEO Michael Holmes said: “We are pleased to confirm the renewal of the Didipio Mine’s FTAA and thank the Philippine Government for their endorsement and renewal. We have worked through the renewal process in partnership with the Government and regulatory agencies.

“We look forward to commencing restart activities and continuing to work in partnership with our regulators, communities, employees, and all stakeholders to contribute to the Philippines’ post-COVID-19 economic recovery.”

OceanaGold said that it has the mine and related facilities in operational stand-by mode. The company intends to restart the operations in a staged manner.

It expects to recommence milling as soon as possible by using nearly 19 million tonnes of stockpiled ore.

The Australian miner is targeting full underground production capacity at the Didipio mine within 12 months. After its full ramp-up, the mine is expected to yield nearly 10,000 gold ounces and 1,000 tonnes of copper per month.

Acquired by OceanaGold in 2006, the Didipio gold and copper mine started commercial production as an open pit operation in 2013. The mine, which is located on the island of Luzon, transitioned into an underground operation in early 2017.