Australia's OceanaGold Corp targets the start of commercial operations at its gold and copper mine in the northern Philippines beginning 2013, the Philippines' environment secretary said on Monday.

The mine, with a reserve life of 20 years, holds 1.41 million ounces of gold and 169,400 tonnes of copper, according to an updated technical report released by OceanaGold in October.

"OceanaGold is going to operate in 2013," Ramon Paje told reporters on the sidelines of an investment forum. He could not say if the miner has found a partner for the project.

Australia's fourth-largest listed gold miner said in October it would restart construction of the Didipio project in Nueva Vizcaya province in the first half of 2011, with an initial capital cost estimated at $140 million over the next four to five years.

The miner halted construction in late 2008 after spending $80 million due to high cost estimates, initially set at $320 million.

It had held talks with potential partners to help shoulder development costs or to sell the project outright.

Paje said OceanaGold could undertake the project even without a partner.

Philex Mining Corp , the Philippines' largest miner partly owned by Hong Kong's First Pacific Co Ltd , was previously reported to be interested in buying into the Didipio mine.


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