The founder of APEX Mining Company (known as “AMCI Exploration and Mining Company” until 1978) was Dr. Fernando Muñiz, who began exploring and prospecting in the Masara area of Eastern Mindanao’s Compostela Valley in 1970.
AMCI’s first venture was copper mining but the low prices copper was fetching on the market in the early 1970s forced the move towards gold. AMCI posted its first profit in 1978 and was able to wipe out its debt by 1980 as gold prices continued to soar. AMCI entered the 1980s on a stable financial footing and began its programme of building housing, recreation and schooling facilities for mine site workers and their children.
In August 2005, an international mining company, Crew Gold Corporation, and its Philippine affiliate, Mapula Creek Gold Corporation, entered into an interim share purchase agreement with AMCI’s majority stockholders for the sale and purchase of approximately 72.8% of the total issued and outstanding capital stock of AMCI. Over the following two months the agreements between AMCI and Viclode and AMCI and Mintrecorp were terminated and AMCI’s days of sub-contracting to small mining organizations and earning income through rentals and royalties from these organizations terminated with them.
After the completion of a due diligence process, Crew and Mapula signed a definitive agreement in December 2005 with AMCI relating to the acquisition of 72.8% of the share capital.
Since then, Crew management has focused on commencing production from the existing plant facility. The agreed objectives in 2005 were initially to establish a 500 t/d working mine and to further establish a much bigger working mine after permitting issues had been resolved. It was also agreed that the Philippines-based management would work closely with the local communities to ensure that no social distress arose from the transformation of small-scale mining to a modern operation.
In the first quarter of 2006, under the new management, AMCI started its rehabilitation of the Masara plant. Other site infrastructures, like power upgrades, roads, accommodation, technical services and operations staff, office buildings for administration, workshops and stores were also upgraded.