Environment office rejects Philex pleading-A A +A
Thursday, January 17, 2013
THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) rejected anew the appeal of Philex Mining Corporation to forgo its P1-billion fine.
In news reports, the DENR is maintaining its finding that Philex is liable in the tailings pond leakage and instructed the mining company to pay the amount by check by February 19.
Earlier, Philex spokesman Mike Toledo said Philex is allotting sufficient funds and efforts to clean up the mess left by the dam collapse.
The company has earlier contested the imposition of the fine, saying the collapse of its mine tailings dam in Padcal in August that released tons of tailings downstream was caused by force majeure.
The government estimates Philex spilled 20 million tons of tailings, a by-product of the mining process, after its tailings reservoir spring a leak after and amid heavy rains from typhoons Ferdie and Gener.
The appeal to forgo the fines was submitted to the DENR in November.
The mine has been shut since then, causing Philex to lose money in the third quarter and bring down nine-month profit by 53 percent.
The P1-billion fine excludes a penalty of between P50,000 to P200,000 for violation of the Clean Water Act which would be imposed each day until the mining waste discharged by the tailings pond is cleared from the waterways. The Pollution Adjudication Board continues to deliberate on the total amount of fines to be imposed on the firm.
A fine of P50,000 was also imposed on Philex by the Environmental Management Bureau for violating a provision of its Environmental Compliance Certificate, which states all mining wastes should be 100 percent contained.
Philex said the leaks were caused by a force majure, freeing the company for liabilities and penalties but reiterated their responsibility to shoulder all rehabilitation and remediation and clean up cost.
As of press time, Toledo was unavailable for comment on the recent development.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 17, 2013.