Philex advances P1.034 billion payment to government-A A +A
Sunday, February 17, 2013
WHILE it believes that the August 1 incident at its Padcal mines was caused by force majeure, Philex Mining Corp., is set to pay on Monday, or one day before the deadline, the P1.034 billion in fees imposed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), as it shares government’s concern to protect the environment.
“We believe it was a result of the elements of nature—an event of force majeure,” Michael Toledo, senior vice president for Corporate Affairs at Philex Mining, said. “But even as we are not at fault, we share the concern of government for the environment, thus we are paying the fee, as set by regulators, to cover the costs of remediation and rehabilitation activities.”
Toledo said the company will continue cooperating with government regulators to ensure the safety and integrity of its Tailings Pond No. 3 (TP3) and the rehabilitation of the areas affected by the accidental discharge of water and sediment from the said pond at Padcal mines in Itogon, Benguet.
Government regulators had ordered Philex Mining to pay P1,034,358,971 over the incident last August 1, when water and sediment discharged accidentally from the company’s Tailings Pond No. 3 (TP3) following historically unprecedented heavy rains brought about by two successive typhoons.
“Despite our differences in opinion with the government, we are paying the fee to create a fund for the remediation and rehabilitation program that will be approved by the government,” Toledo stressed. “To show cooperation is possible between regulators and the regulated, and so that we can move forward to ensure the stability of TP3 and continue serving our stakeholders and continue our share in nation-building.”
Philex Mining has asked MGB’s permission for the resumption of Padcal operations as part of the rehabilitation of TP3, which needs 3.5 million tons of fresh tailings to fill up its conical void and create a beach in the pond.
Mike Gowan, of Australia’s Golder Associates, a global ground engineering and environmental services firm, said the beach would push the accumulated water in the pond away from its embankment and into a spillway. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 18, 2013.