Philex to resume Padcal operations by March 8
MANILA, Philippines - After about 8 months since the Padcal gold and copper mine was shut, Philex Mining Corp is set to resume temporary operations by midnight Friday, March 8.
"We will start probably by past midnight at 12:01 am,” said Libby Ricafort, the vice president for operations of Philex, in a text message to reporters on Thursday, March 7.
Philex previously paid P1.034 billion for the Mining Act-related fines the government slapped on the company following the August 2012 leak at its tailings pond facility in Benguet mountain province.
This fine was paid in cash on February 18 to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and after it received US$25 million (about P1 billion) in claims settlement from its pollution legal liability insurance policy.
On March 6, the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) also lifted the ban on the use of the tailings pond. The PAB also fined Philex P92.8 million for violations against the Clean Water Act.
Philex will temporarily operate the facility as part of clean up and rehabilitation efforts. The firm pressed for the permission to conduct the beaching months before the onset of the rainy season to prevent a possible collapse of the tailings storage facility and the overflow of more silt into the Agno River.
In its motion to lift the cease and desist order, the PAB referred to recommendations from the MGB. "The MGB stressed that in the event the main dike collapses, it will cause irreparable and catastrophic damage to the environment and to the communities since the approximately 140 million tons of mine tailings will be discharged by the TSF3 (tailings storage facility no. 3)," the order read.
"Please note that the incident last August 1... discharged only a total of 20.6 millon tons of tailings which already brought considerable damage to Agno and Balog Rivers."
Philex Mining has been allowed to operate the pond for 4 months. - Rappler.com