REPRESENTATIVES from Benguet Corporation appeared before the members of the Itogon Municipal Council together with the different barangay officials and other line agencies for the company’s long term commitment measures on the tailings leak incident at the Antamok Open Pit.
“We have a short term mitigating measure to immediately address the possible recurrence of the incident, or the possibilities of a bigger problem. For the longer term, we have to backfill the pipe-out section inside the Liang tailings impoundment area,” BC OIC resident manager and Assistant Vice President Antonio Buenavista said.
Buenavista added to be able to implement mitigating measures, the technical assessment of the breach after the backfilling of the pipe-out section will determine the concrete plugging of the 700 Level drainage tunnel to prevent another tailings leak or repair of the breach.
However, some residents expressed their opposition on the company’s proposal saying the stoppage will affect them when water or other mine failings overflows directly to their lands.
However, the mining firm assured they will settle damages in case the breach occurs anew and agreed to put into writing any damages.
“We are trying to meet them to address the problem para sakaling may solution na mapag-agree-an para maituloy ang naumpisahang mitigating measures. On the process naman lahat iyan, may consultations and presentations ng plan,” Buenavista said.
Benguet Corp. is currently seeking the support of the community to let them complete the backfilling of the tailings leak.
“Sana ngayong walang ulan matuloy yong plan para safe yong engineers natin to do technical assessment para malaman kung anong reinforcement pa ng plugging ang kailangan,” he said.
Meanwhile, administration department head Froilan Lawilao said another long term measure being considered is the permanent plugging of the Level 430 (AGF) and diversion of water to the Camote portal.
Lawilao added other proposals noted in the Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Plan is that, Antamok will soon have the 440 Open Pit converted to an eco-park, with water park and agro-forestry as main features by the developer together with the establishment of a minahang bayan and a waste to energy with a component of an engineered sanitary landfill with the municipality of Itogon as main beneficiary.