Mining firm halts operations due to sediments-A A +A
Saturday, August 4, 2012
OPERATIONS of Philex Mining Corporation came to a halt midnight, Wednesday, due to heavy sediments in its tailings pond.
Mike Toledo, Philex senior vice president for Corporate Affairs, said heavy rains sent an unusual amount of water to the mine’s tailings pond but assured that “there are no chemicals; the water is absolutely safe and non toxic.”
Philex voluntarily halted operations before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR MGB) issued a cease operation order to the mining firm.
Toledo brushed aside speculation of contaminated water flowing from the tailings ponds,saying the water is only mixed with sediments. “There are no reports of any injuries or fatalities,” he added.
Unconfirmed reports reached Sun.Star Baguio Dam 3 of Philex exploded Thursday night forcing water and chemicals to be discharged to the San Roque Dam.
Inspection showed water and sediment are being discharged from one of the two underground tunnels that drain clear water from the penstock in the tailings pond.
Meanwhile, San Roque Dam released water from its gates Thursday night as it reached its tipping point, opening one gate by 0.5 meter at the rate of 330 cubic meters per second; this is equivalent to 1,650 drums of water released per second.
Heavy rains in the past two weeks brought about by typhoons Ferdie and Gener are pinpointed to the accumulation of rainwater in the tailings pond.
The mines will be closed to allow for a full assessment of the situation and the implementation of necessary remediation measures.
“The investigation is ongoing right now, we do not know until when,” Toledo said.
Milling operations were stopped at about 12 midnight on August 1 to conduct a full inspection of tailings pond and the surrounding areas in order to assess the condition of the tailings pond.
Toledo said the mining company is in close coordination with the local government units of Tuba and Itogon as well as the Provincial Governor.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 04, 2012.