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PIA Press Release
2008/08/05

UK's Anglo-American poised to invest US$500-M in Surigao mines

Manila (5 August) -- British mining company Anglo-American plans to invest 500 million US dollars in a copper gold mine in Surigao del Norte, the British embassy announced Monday.

The embassy emphasized the mission is "exploratory" but if it "successfully discovers" sufficient reserves of the precious minerals, operations will immediately commence in partnership with Philex Mining and Manila Mining.

UK ambassador Peter Beckingham projects that an estimated 2,500 jobs are expected to be created and local taxes will rise to more than double the current level once operations commence.

Beckingham reported the good news to more than a hundred businessmen in Surigao City during a recent visit there, the first on record by a UK diplomat and one of only four by any chief of diplomatic missions in the last eight years.

Surigao del Norte and neighboring areas are listed among the top 10 poorest in the Philippines, where illiteracy is widespread and health care is inadequate.

The planned investment would "be a major boon for the local people and government," Beckingham said in announcing his support of the private venture.

"I am confident that the people of Surigao Del Norte would benefit from the proposed development of a copper/gold mine by Anglo American," he noted.

However, Beckingham expressed his apprehension that "jobs and money in the local community would be lost" if Anglo-American's plans are opposed and prevented, saying that "would be a sad day for the Philippines and the province."

He described Anglo-American as one of the biggest mining corporations in the UK with a solid track record in responsible governance and sustainable environmental development.

He noted the British company's willingness to help local people rise up from poverty while protecting the environment, confident that Anglo-American is committed to uphold good relations with the local government and civil society.

During his two-day stay in Surigao City in Eastern Mindanao, Beckingham also opened a Business Investment Center with the City Mayor and met with the provincial Vice-Governor Noel Catre and community representatives.

He also visited a number of new tourist developments in Surigao, its seaports, and the Surigao Heritage Center, where he was told that a UK adventurer, William Dampier, was one of the first-ever overseas explorers to visit the Philippines and landed in Surigao in 1686.

Noting this, Beckingham expressed that "it would be a great full circle if the UK can return with major investments in this beautiful province in the 21st century." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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