Philex opens doors for inspections-A A +A
Thursday, January 24, 2013
ITOGON, Benguet – The Philex Mining Corporation has opened its guarded doors to a thorough explanation of the damaged of the tailings pond 3.
Philex vice president Libby Ricafort with Mayor Oscar Camantiles led the inspection of the damaged tailings pond until the Pambasan limit where silt is still pile.
So far the company has 147,000 bags of silt collected and stored since the August halt in operations, and constructed eight silt shafts to prevent the silt to seep into the Balog Creek below.
The two-kilometer stretch to the Pambasan boundary was installed with walkways, nine hanging bridges, makes shift toilets and huts for workers and visitors.
Ricafort said the work was submitted to the Environmental Management Bureau and is awaiting approval for as part of the rehabilitation plan for the area.
Ricafort said plans for the set up of the new tailings pond 4 are also being studied.
Ricafort said an appeal for the temporary lifting of the halt in operations has been submitted to the DENR in the hopes that resumption of milling operations will hasten the filling up of the tailings pond before the rainy season.
For now the tailings pond is filled with water and should be filled with solids so as not to soften the dike, a resumption of the milling will produce the tonnage needed to fill the damaged pond.
On Thursday, the company has received an order barring it from using its tailings pond and to pay a P92.8-million fine from the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB).
The fine is separate from the previous P1-billion imposed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that the Philex needs to settle by February 2013.
The pollution body has cited the impact of the tailings spill on the water system in the area, particularly the Balog and Agno rivers.
The management could not be reached for comment over the PAB order, which came out early Thursday morning.
In a company statement, the PAB decision is not a denial of the request for Temporary Lifting Order, but is a decision of the PAB on the case of the clean water act.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 25, 2013.