Metals Exploration is hopeful its Runruno Gold-Molybdenum Project in Luzon, the Philippines will be operational in January. The processing plant is built and commissioned but the lack of an operational permit has delayed its switch-on.

There have also been delays following the nearby passage of Typhoon Lando in October. Following the typhoon the Philippines Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) imposed a partial suspension order on the company’s Philippines subsidiary FCF Minerals Corporation which necessitated some remedial work.

The typhoon made landfall on Sunday, October 18 and it passed close by Runruno as it moved in a north-westerly and then northerly direction across northern Luzon. It was recorded as a Super Typhoon event and was slow moving which resulted in the Runruno project being impacted by strong winds and intense rainfall over two days. Beyond the immediate concerns the remainder of the project withstood the impacts of the Typhoon well.

Although FCF had already prioritized and commenced works, the MGB order directed it to suspend certain works in the areas of the Residual Storage Impoundment (RSI), the Malilibeg dump site and tailings pipeline bench area of the project. FCF was also directed to undertake rehabilitation and clean-up works to the areas affected by excessive water run-off. No other mine site operations were affected by the suspension. FCF said Typhoon Landu caused no structural damage but there was debris to clean up and water damage to address.

FCF said it was working closely with the MGB to agree a program of work to be undertaken to enable the suspension order to be lifted.

Metals Exploration said in a subsequent statement that rehabilitation and clean up works in the typhoon-affected areas were progressing well, with enhancement work under way on the dump site and within the downstream RSI. It said that the MGB would inspect these works to determine if the suspension order could be lifted. Once that occurs, the tailing discharge pipeline and the RSI could be commissioned leading to the processing of ore and first production.

The AIM-listed company acquired the project in February 2005 and has since increased its interest in the project to 100%. Work has defined a resource of 1.39 million ounces of gold, and 25.6 million pounds of molybdenum with 1.05 million ounces of gold reporting to the measured and indicated categories and 900,000 ounces within the mining proven and probable reserve category.

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