October 17, 2012 / 3:49 AM / 8 years ago

Philippines says approval of Xstrata's $5.9 billion Tampakan project may have to wait

Philippine President Benigno Aquino gestures during his speech on national television at the Malacanang palace in Manila October 7, 2012. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippines President Benigno Aquino said on Wednesday he wants to wait for the passage of a mining taxation reform law before approving the $5.9 billion Tampakan copper-and-gold mining project by global miner Xstrata Plc’s Philippines unit.

“That seems to be the more prudent way,” Aquino told a media conference when asked if the government would delay its decision to approve Sagittarius Mines Inc’s application for the project in the southern Philippines.

Sagittarius, a unit of Xstrata and part-owned by Australian miner Indophil Resources NL, has asked Aquino to reverse the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ decision not to issue an environmental compliance certificate for the project.

The agency has said it would not issue a certificate, required before Sagittarius could start mine construction, until a provincial government ban on open-pit mining is lifted.

Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Paul Tait

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