New mine firm tailings leak discovered-A A +A
Thursday, September 6, 2012
PHILEX Mining Corporation suffered a second leak in its tailings pond.
Still recovering from the August 1 leak, the mining firm’s pond number 3 (TP3) sustained another spill recorded August 30 but was reportedly contained on the same day.
Philex vice president Mike Toledo said the incident was reported to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).
Toledo said the second leak, though not as big as the first, was spotted by workers and was plugged immediately. “[The leak] was caused by unusual heavy rains and upon inspection of our people there they found another discharge.”
Toledo said the discharges were minimal and was immediately tested to be non-toxic and biodegradable by experts. “The sediments discharged were similar to the discharges during the first leak.”
Philex Mining suspended its Padcal operations on August 1 due to an accidental discharge of water and sediment from TP3 following heavy rains. “We are continuing our work of clean up operations and remedial measures in the area,” Toledo assured.
The MGB and the EMB are currently conducting a technical assessment of the incident to determine if the firm has any liabilities for the leak, said Toledo. “It’s still ongoing, we have been meeting regularly with a team from the MGB and EMB on our ongoing rehabilitation efforts to determine what else we need to do.”
Toledo said once the report of the EMB and the MGB are out, the assessment for liabilities of the company will ensue.
“We will abide by the law and do what is right under responsible mining.”
Philex Mining may have to pay additional penalties of up to P200,000 for each day, it is not in operation for violation of the Clean Water Act and of the terms of its environmental compliance certificate on top of a possible P325 million penalty by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for waste spillage.
Toledo said as of now there are no figures submitted to amount for penalties. “We have to wait for the report of the EMB and the MGB to determine the exact amount and this will also undergo a process.”
Governor Nestor Fongwan said the team from the province is also in close coordination with the mining company as well as government line agencies on the matter.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 06, 2012.