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OceanaGold rejects reports of opposition in Philippines

Tuesday 15th July 2008

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OceanaGold Corp., the mining company developing the Didipio Copper Gold Project in the northern Philippines, said it is complying with that nation's laws and rejects accusations the development is harming indigenous tribes.

The Philippines Commission on Human Rights plans to investigate the mine operator for alleged human rights abuses, Australian Broadcasting Corp reported on its website on Friday. The ABC said commission chairwoman Leila de Lima was probing claims the company forcibly demolished tribal housing and other alleged abuses.

Media coverage of the claims in the Philippines prompted Australian Ambassador Rod Smith to say yesterday that his country's mining companies have the highest safety and environmental standards, reported. OceanaGold expects to start producing from the A$320 million Didipio project in 2009 at an average rate of 120,000 ounces of gold and 15,000 tonnes of copper annually, with over 15 years' mine life.

Some of the criticism of Didipio comes from people "who are philosophically opposed to mineral resource development," OceanaGold said in a statement today. The company "continues to abide by the terms and conditions of out FTAA permit and Philippine laws and regulations."

The company said it hasn't heard from the Philippines human rights agency. De Lima didn't immediately respond to emailed questions.

OceanaGold acquired Didipio through a merger with Climax Mining in 2006. Its shares were unchanged at NZ$1.25.

By Jonathan Underhill

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