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MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine province where a joint venture of Xstrata Plc wants to develop a $5.9 billion copper and gold mine is unlikely to lift its ban on the project, the governor said on Thursday, days after the government issued new mining rules.

South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy told Reuters that Sagittarius Mines, owned by the global miner and Australian mining firm Indophil Resources, may have to go to court to end the ban on open-pit mining, the method to be used at Southeast Asia's biggest copper and gold prospect in Tampakan.

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