Itogon urges Philex to resume operations-A A +A
Friday, February 1, 2013
THE Municipal Council of Itogon is asking for the resumption of work at Philex Mines.
The council, in its resolution, cited loss of revenues generated from the money that mining corporation remits toward the national wealth tax and business taxes.
The resolution stated: “It is the discernment and position of this body that the lifting of the suspension order issued by Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) will be for the greater good of the majority.”
The council also asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to lift the Cease Operation Order issued to Philex Mining Corporation.
However, the DENR earlier said the operations in the mines will not resume until there is a new tailings pond.
A decision by the DENR Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) has asked the mine company to pay an additional penalty of P92.8 million for polluting the Balog Creek and the Agno River, in violation of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and the terms of its environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
The DENR-PAB stipulates Philex will have to continue paying a penalty of P200,000 per day until it has cleaned up the two affected waterways.
Philex Mining vice president Libby Ricafort justified the request to temporarily open the mines, saying the company needs 2.5 million tons of fresh tailings to fill TP3’s conical void and another one million tons of the same material to create a beach in the pond, which is designed to hold solids, not water.
Ricafort said the void has to be filled up before the onset to the rainy season to avoid more problems.
Apparently, a clamor by various groups is in progress to ask the government to allow the mines to resume operations, saying the company has already plugged the sinkhole in its TP3.
Philex Mining earlier said it would be spending at least P1 billion for the rehabilitation of TP3 and Balog Creek and its convergence area with Agno River between August 2012 and April 2013.
The DENR remains silent on the request and stand firm on its earlier decision to impose a halt in operations.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 02, 2013.