MANILA, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Philex Mining Corp said on Thursday it expects to produce up to 4 million tonnes per year of high-grade copper and gold ores from its $1.1 billion Silangan project in southern Philippines by 2023.
Silangan is a large-scale mine that the Philippine miner plans to fully develop within two-and-a-half years.
Philex is looking for a strategic partner for the project, which the miner aims to finalise within the first half of 2020 along with contracts that will pave the way for development.
"The mine is designed for four million tonnes per year," Philex President and CEO Eulalio Austin said in a statement.
"We will start lower, then on the second year, that is in 2023, it will be a full four million tonnes per year," Austin added.
Silangan will be Philex's biggest source of revenue after the closure of its 61-year-old Padcal mine in northern Philippines possibly by 2022.
The Silangan project, which will use the underground sub-level cave mining method, and not the open-pit mining method as initially planned, is expected to yield ore grades of 0.63% for copper and 1.20 grams per tonne for gold.
Silangan, in Surigao del Norte province on the mineral resources-rich Mindanao island, was previously slated to begin production by 2018. However, the project was hit by a ban on open-pit mining introduced in 2017 as the government stepped up environmental protection.
Silangan consists of three deposit areas - Boyongan, Bayugo and Kalayaan - with the latter being a joint venture between Philex and Manila Mining Corp.
Boyongan, with an initial estimated mine life of 22 years, is expected to be the first to start operations in 2022.
Philex has earmarked around $750 million for the development of the Boyongan ore body, and has appointed J.P. Morgan for equity investment and Japan's Mizuho Financial Group Inc for project financing.
(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)