Review of Exploration



Drilling was focused on the confirmation and development of marketable reserves in the southern portion of Umawi as the primary development target. The 2019 drilling program is the 3rd stage
of Development Drilling with a total of 189 drill holes equivalent to 2,454.34 meters. The said
drilling program successfully upgraded 501 kWMT of marketable saprolite ore at an average grade of 1.59% Ni and 11.34% Fe to measured resource category in the southern portion of Umawi area. The application for tree-cutting permit for Umawi is currently being processed and being reviewed by DENR-MIMAROPA.

To fast track the approval of the expansion of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) to include the Bulanjao property, RTN decided to file for amendment of the existing MPSA. In October 2018, MGB Central Office sent a letter to RTN indicating a 1-year Permit to Verify Minerals in the Bulanjao Property. The permit to verify minerals is one of the requirements of the amendment process. From January to October 2019, RTNMC was able to drill 1,725 holes equivalent to 20,574.09 meters, covering approximately 450 hectares, during the verification period. A mineral resource of 10,225 kWMT of saprolite ore, with an average grade of 1.54% Ni and 13.75% Fe, as well as 10,911 kWMT of limonite ore, with an average grade of 1.30% Ni and 32.12% Fe, were blocked. The 2019 drilling program verified the previously reported mineral resources with increased tonnages due to deeper penetration of holes.


The exploration activities in Kepha are put on hold as the signing of the Addendum and Supplemental to the MOA is being finalized. The exploration team has conducted a ground survey to delineate areas such as sacred burial and hunting grounds as pre-condition prior to the signing of the MOA, as demanded by the Tribal Leaders settling in the area. The outcome of this ground survey has also provided information on the extension of ultramafic rocks to the southeast of the tenement that could potentially increase the nickel resources of the Kepha MPSA.

The approved 2-year Community Development Program (CDP), which consists of seven (7) projects, were already implemented in all impact barangays with first-year physical and financial accomplishment of 86% and 93%, respectively.

The Exploration and Environmental Work Programs were presented last year to all concerned Municipal Councils of Claver and Gigaquit, as well as to the Provincial Council of Surigao del Norte as part of the mandatory requirements set by the DENR prior to the commencement of exploration activities.


The 2019 drilling program of DMC consists of confirmatory holes to verify previously drilled areas. A total of 77 drillholes were completed with an aggregated length of 1,617.70 meters. Due to the acquisition of LIDAR topographic data in 2018, the locations of drillholes obtained from previous management were validated and corrected. Core samples from the 2015-2016 development drilling program, consisting of 279 drillholes, were also sent to the assay laboratories of other operating companies for analysis.

The effected changes in the drilling database as well as the newly acquired data for 356 drillholes were used to update the mineral resources of DMC.


Cordillera Exploration Co., Inc. (CExCI)

CExCI has an Exploration Permit (EP) over the Manmanok Property in Apayao Province, an Application for EP (EXPA) over the Kutop Property in the province of Abra, and an application for Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (AFTA) over the Mankayan Property, within the adjoining provinces of Benguet, Ilocos Sur and Mountain Province. A portion of the AFTA, covering the grounds in Mankayan, Benguet and Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, were converted to EXPA.

In December 2015, CExCI acquired the 100% equity interest in Newminco Pacific Mining Corporation, which holds an EP for copper, gold, and related base and precious metals over an area located in Cabangan, San Felipe, and San Marcelino in the province of Zambales. The decision to acquire Newminco was made following the discovery of outcropping gold veins, the sampling of which in part returned good assays for gold.

On April 15, 2019, a Deed of Assignment with Royalty Agreement of Application for Production Sharing Agreement (APSA)-000021-II was executed by and between Marian Mineral Exploration Co., Inc and Olympus Mineral Exploration Co., Inc. and CExCI

The description of CExCI’s various properties is described below


In 2016, Newminco proceeded to implement its exploration program in the tenement designated as EP-001-2015-III which is located in the Municipalities of Cabangan, San Felipe and San Marcelino in the Province of Zambales. Exploration activities being conducted in the area include geologic mapping, sampling and trenching. Roughly twenty-five (25) kilometers of old farm to market and logging roads were rehabilitated and maintained to gain access to the property. Six hundred and sixty meters (660m) of exploratory trenches were dug, logged, sampled and rehabilitated. Diamond core drilling was conducted with a total meterage of 3,799.5 meters. A total of 401 samples were sent to the laboratory for multi-element geochemical analysis. Results of the 2016 exploration campaign verified gold mineralization in a portion of the area drilled. However, the work so far conducted precludes Newminco from defining any commercial viability to the project. Rehabilitation works on disturbed areas were completed in early 2017.

In 2017, a tenement wide ridge and spur soil sampling program was implemented in order to define targets for more detailed work. However, due to the expiration of the EP in July 2017,
the sampling was not completed. This program will resume this year since the 1st renewal of Exploration Permit was approved by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) on March 3, 2020.

Isabela/Nueva Vizcaya

The Marian Property was designated as APSA- 000021-II and covers a total area of 6,325 hectares mainly located in the Province of Isabela with some portions in Nueva Vizcaya. It is owned by Marian Mineral Exploration Co. Inc and Olympus Mineral Exploration Co. Inc. which entered into a Royalty Agreement with Vulcan Industrial and Mining Corporation on October 1969. This agreement was eventually terminated on November 2018.

On July 24, 2019, CExCI. filed the conversion of APSA-000021-II into an Exploration Permit at MGB Region 2

On January 29, 2020 an Order was issued by MGB Region 2 approving the Deed of Assignment with Royalty Agreement and the conversion of the APSA- 000021-II to an Exploration Permit application denominated as EXPA-000166-II in favor of CExCI.


In July 2013, a board decision was made to partially convert the AFTA to an EXPA. Since the area to be converted to EP straddles two regions and involves lands belonging to separate tribes, two applications for EP were filed, namely: EXPA 116-Mankayan, covering an area of approximately 5,157 hectares; and EXPA 116-Cervantes, covering an area of approximately 6,012 hectares. The split has been necessary in order to facilitate and simplify the required “Free and Prior Informed Consent” (FPIC) process for each region covered. The process of the application for conversion took from November 2013 up to December 2015.

The FPIC over the Mankayan area was immediately started in December 2015, and had progressed to “Field-based Investigation” stage up to May 2016 when the process was suspended to give way to the general elections. The FPIC process over Mankayan remained suspended throughout the rest of 2016 and the whole year of 2017. This was done in order for CExCI to be able to concentrate in advancing the FPIC process over Cervantes.

The 3rd General Assembly of the FPIC process in Cervantes is the final assembly to officially proclaim the acceptance of the exploration work of CExCI by the Indigenous Cultural Communities. This was conducted on March 13, 2017 and the result was six (6) out of the nine (9) barangays voted for the approval of the exploration of CExCI within their area. Following this, some protests and petitions to discredit the results of the general assembly were filed by some anti-mining group and locals.

A validation exercise to investigate the protests was called by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Region 1 Director. The validation exercise was completed by end November 2017, with the results and consequent report being very favorable to CExCI. What remains to be done is for NCIP Regional Office to execute an order for the continuance of the FPIC process. When the process is resumed, CExCI will proceed with the discussion and negotiations for the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the communities, plan out the Community Development Programs, hence signing of the MOA, and eventually issuance of the Certification Precondition by the NCIP and then of the EP by the MGB.

Following the conversion, AFTA-008, now consists of approximately 43,320 hectares and covers portions of the provinces of Benguet and Mt. Province. The future plan for this remaining portion is to further convert other parts into EP, hence eventually dropping the remaining AFTA altogether.

All documents pertinent to the retained AFTA-008 have been submitted to the office
of the Regional Director MGB-CAR as of July 11, 2016. The application (AFTA-008) is now pending with the said office.


The Manmanok property is located within the Municipality of Conner, Apayao Province. The property is covered by EP-004-2006-CAR, which was first granted in October 2006 and subsequently renewed twice with the corresponding reduction in area coverage. The final area covered by the permit is approximately 4,996 hectares.

Following geophysical and geochemical work in an area that was deemed prospective for gold mineralization, drilling activities were conducted from June 2012 to March 2013, with poor results. Although an application for the third renewal of the EP was submitted to MGB-CAR, the poor outcome and the difficulties experienced in operating in such a remote area may lead the Company to terminate work and relinquish the EP eventually.


The Kutop property is located within the municipalities of Malibcong and Daguioman in the Province of Abra, and the municipality of Balbalan in the Province of Kalinga. The property, with a total area of 13,268 hectares, is covered by an application for EP designated as EXPA-014-CAR.

As the area is ancestral land, CExCI is required to obtain a FPIC from the tribal group prior to the grant of the EP. Considerable delays have been experienced in moving this process forward. In
the meantime, a deadline imposed by the MGB to complete this process has not been met. With the prevailing condition in the area, the Company may decide not to pursue the EXPA.