Philex bows to Mines and Geosciences Bureau-A A +A
Friday, January 18, 2013
MINING giant Philex Mining Corporation bowed to the decision of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) imposing the P1-billion fines over the August leak that caused a halt in operation.
“Philex Mining Corporation will cooperate with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, which has ordered the company to pay a sizable amount over the Padcal accident,” said Michael Toledo, Philex senior vice president for Corporate Affairs.
Toledo said the MGB also required the company to submit a work plan as the basis for which to use the fund.
“We will work closely with the MGB on this, as we welcome its decision that the amount to be paid would be used for remediation and rehabilitation of the affected areas,” Toledo added.
The DENR through Director Jasareno said the money will be made payable to MGB, which will remit it to the Mine Wastes and Tailings Reserve Fund.
The fund will then be used to compensate for the damages caused by the accident, and for the rehabilitation of the affected areas as may be determined by MGB, pursuant to Section 189 and 190 of DENR Administrative order No. 2010-21 and DENR Memorandum Order No. 99-32.
Philex is also required to submit to DENR the pertinent work plan with budget estimate upon payment of the penalty, as basis for the withdrawal from the fund of the amount to be expended accordingly.
Massive rehabilitation of the Balog Creek and portions of Agno River where tons of mine tailings spilled are underway. The pond’s surroundings, which is closed, will be planted with trees.
The Padcal mine site has been closed since August 1. Operations will likely resume around the second quarter of next year when the open spillway, which would replace the penstock and underground tunnel system of draining water from Tailings Pond No.3 to Balog Creek, is completed.
Toledo said earlier rehabilitation of the Balog River is set to finish its first stage by April as stated in the Balog and Agno River Integrated River Management Plan. “We have short term and long term plans for these areas.”
Part of the overall program is the safety and total rehabilitation of the river as well as the damaged Tailings Pond 3, which caused the leak and halt in mining operations.
Toledo said part of plans is to make the area into an eco tourism site. “This will require making the soil fertile again, reviving it slowly.”
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 18, 2013.