We export both saprolite and limonite ore to customers in Japan and China. Our customers use our ore for the production of ferronickel and nickel pig iron, both used to produce stainless steel, and for the production of pig iron used for carbon steel. We are also the exclusive supplier of limonite ore from our Rio Tuba mine to the country's first hydrometallurgical nickel processing plant, Coral Bay, where we have a 6% effective equity interest. Coral Bay became operational in 2005 and currently operates at a capacity of 24,000 tonnes of contained nickel and 1,500 tonnes of contained cobalt per year in the form of a mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide. It has proven to be the world's most efficient facility using the high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) process.
In 2010 we made an investment of P4.4 billion for a 22.5% equity interest in the country's second hydrometallurgical nickel processing plant under Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation. Using the same technology as in Coral Bay, the plant is currently under construction beside our Taganito mine and is scheduled to come on stream mid-2013 at a capacity of 30,000 tonnes of contained nickel per year. Our Taganito mine will supply all of the limonite ore requirements for the plant. At a total project cost of $1.4 billion, the plant will represent the single largest investment in the Philippine minerals sector to-date.
Apart from our four operating mines, we have seven properties in various stages of exploration for nickel. In November 2010, we concluded the purchase of Cordillera Exploration Co., Inc. from Anglo American, with four properties in the Central Cordillera of northern Luzon that are prospective for the exploration of gold and copper. The purchase marks our first step in our vision to become a diversified mineral resource company.
We are focused on growth. At the same time, we take our responsibilities toward safety, environmental protection and community relations and development seriously. Our efforts in these fields have resulted in numerous awards received over the years during the annual Presidential Mineral Environmental Industry Awards. We believe that sustainable development is the only way forward for any mining operation and we exert great effort to achieve those principles. We are committed to responsible mining and to running every facet of our operations in a world-class manner.