Armed men attacked the exploration team of a subsidiary of Philex Mining Corp. in Mainit, Surigao del Norte, on Saturday, burning more than P1 million worth of equipment, police said.

Six unidentified armed men “harassed” the exploration team of Silangan Mindanao Mining Company Inc. (SMMCI) in the mountainous area of Brgy. Roxas past 8 a.m., Caraga regional police spokesman Supt. Martin Gamba said.

The group stripped security guards Nilo Macula and Danilo Dag-uman of their issued shotguns then set the exploration team’s equipment on fire, he said.

Burned were one unit of induced polarization survey equipment, generator set, nine electric rods, four spools, and a tent, which all amount to P1.143 million, Gamba said.

Members of the Mainit Police are still conducting investigation along with with the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion to determine the attackers’ identities and motive, he said.

SMMCI is a unit of Silangan Mindanao Exploration Co. Inc. (SMECI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philex Mining.

SMECI, through SMMCI, owns the “Silangan Project,” a deposit of copper and gold covering the towns of Placer, Sison, Taganaan, and Tubod, Surigao del Norte.

Philex Mining plans to commence production at Silangan by 2017. (John Roson)

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