HONG KONG, July 13, 2015 /CNW/ - St. Augustine Gold and Copper Limited (TSX: SAU) ("St. Augustine" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that its joint venture partner, Nationwide Development Corporation ("NADECOR") and the Mansaka Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples ("ICC/IPs" or "Mansaka Tribe"), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples ("NCIP") collectively entered into a Memorandum of Agreement ("MOA") for the support and development of the King-king Copper-Gold Project (the "Project"). The signing of the MOA represents another significant milestone in the Company's efforts to secure permitting and support for the development of the Project.
The MOA, together with the Free and Prior Informed Consent ("FPIC") report of the NCIP Regional Office, has been forwarded to the NCIP Central Office in Manila. The NCIP Commissioners will review the MOA and, upon determination that the documents submitted are complete and in order, the NCIP Commission will issue the Certificate of Precondition ("CP"). The CP refers to a certification issued by the NCIP that the required FPIC was properly obtained from the ICC/IP community concerned and is in accordance with the provisions of the national guidelines. A decision on the CP is expected before year end 2015.
The NADECOR - Mansaka Tribe MOA is a cornerstone agreement that complies with the Philippine Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 with NCIP as the primary governmental agency mandated to formulate and implement policies and guidelines to promote and protect the rights and well-being of the ICC/IPs, as well as the recognition of their ancestral domain and rights.
During the past five years, NADECOR (together with affiliates of the St. Augustine group as the service provider) and the Mansaka Tribe have worked to align all interests in the development of the Project such that the operation will mutually benefit all parties. This MOA further paves the way for near-term development of the Project and represents an important milestone that leads toward start of project construction.
The MOA is valid for 25 years and provides a framework for how the Project will benefit the Mansaka Tribe through payment of a 1% royalty fee, as well as employment and various social development programs. More information on the salient points of the MOA is provided in an appendix to this announcement.
NADECOR President Conrado T. Calalang stated, "This MOA demonstrates the Project's commitment to the Mansaka Tribe, the durable social license to operate, and further clears the way for King-king to begin development."
SAU President and CEO Paolo A. Villar further added, "With the Project nearly fully permitted and with the FPIC and CP imminent, it will be ready for financing and start of construction. I look forward to the economic uplift and growth of the Mansaka Tribe upon the commencement of the Project."
The King-king Copper-Gold Project
The King-king Copper-Gold Project is located in Compostela Valley in the Philippines, and is expected to recover 3.16B lbs. of copper and 5.43M oz. of gold over its 25 year mine and process life. According to the Preliminary Feasibility Study that was released on September 18, 2013, and then filed on www.sedar.com on November 1, 2013, the Project has a pre-tax NPV of $2.0 billion with an IRR of 24.8%. The estimated mineral reserves amount to 617.9 million tonnes at 0.300% total copper and 0.395 g/t gold.
About St. Augustine
St. Augustine (SAU.T) is a TSX-listed mining company focused on the development of the King-king Copper-Gold Project. The Project is one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in the world, and is listed as a top three-priority mining project by the Philippine government.
NATIONAL INSTRUMENT 43-101 COMPLIANCE
Mr. James J. Moore, P.E., Vice President Technical of St. Augustine and a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") has reviewed and approved the scientific, technical and economic information contained in this news release.
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This announcement includes certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact included herein are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties and are based on certain factors and assumptions. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations include uncertainties related to fluctuations in gold, copper and other commodity prices and currency exchange rates; uncertainties relating to interpretation of drill results and the geology, continuity and grade of mineral deposits; uncertainties relating to the completion of a bankable feasibility study; uncertainty of estimates of capital and operating costs, recovery rates production estimates and estimated economic return; the need for cooperation of the Company's joint venture partner and government agencies in the development of the Company's mineral projects; the need to obtain further permits and additional financing to develop the Company's mineral projects; the possibility of delay in development programs or in construction projects and uncertainty of meeting anticipated program milestones for the Company's mineral projects; and other risks and uncertainties disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Annual Information Form dated March 19, 2015, and filed with Canadian securities regulatory authorities on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com.
The salient points of the MOA provides for:
- A 1% Royalty Fee to the Mansaka Tribe based on the gross net smelter revenue from the project upon the start of commercial operations;
- Priority employment of the Mansaka Tribe as per agreed guidelines;
- Educational assistance through scholarship programs as per guidelines;
- Facilitation and arrangement for the conduct of TESDA training for required technical skill sets;
- Priority to and assistance to the Mansaka Tribe in their anticipated business ventures during construction and production;
- Primacy to the Mansaka Tribe within the company Social Development Management Program;
- Financial and technical assistance to the Tribal Council in support of Community Royalty Development Projects;
- Medical outreach programs;
- Assistance to the Mansaka Tribe to preserve the School of Living Tradition for the preservation of customs and practices of the Mansaka Tribe;
- Commitment to render Mansaka Tribe assistance in the event of calamities and disasters;
- Support the Mansaka and IPs women programs;
- Resettlement areas and mechanisms for adversely affected communities within the Project area; and
- Implementation of programs for the protection and preservation of the environment and ecology.
The MOA also provides for the fair and equitable treatment of those tribal members resettled, fair compensation, and the establishment of project and MOA monitoring, as well as the provision of grievance boards to address any ongoing concerns.
Upon closure and reclamation, guidelines and bonding are established to necessitate rehabilitation of mined-out areas, decommission mining related structures and hand over facilities that are consistent with the aspiration of the Mansaka Tribe's for a long lasting socio-economic benefit.
SOURCE St. Augustine Gold and Copper Limited
For further information: Joe Racanelli, Vice President, Investor Relations | TMX Equicom, T: +1-416-815-0700 ext. 243, E: JRacanelli@tmxequicom.com; ST. AUGUSTINE CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS, Suite 8, 20/F, One International Finance Centre, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3960 6498