MANILA, Philippines – After an August spill from a broken tailings pond, Philex Mining Corp. will construct two additional tailings ponds worth over P600 million in its copper-gold mine in Benguet.
In a September 24 statement to the stock exchange, the company said, “We confirm that the company has decided that new tailings ponds for Padcal have to be built as long-term replacements for the current Tailings Pond 3 (TP3).”
Following a heavy downpour, the 20-year-old tailings pond spilled at least 5 cubic meters of sediments into one of the country’s largest rivers, the Agno River, and a tributary.
Philex senior vice president for corporate affairs Mike Toledo said it will take 6 to 12 months each to construct Tailings Pond 4 and 5. The new ponds will be constructed in the same tenement.
Each pond is estimated to cost at least P300 million, including accessory structures such as monitoring infrastructure, embankments and roads.
The company plans to begin constructing the first tailings pond within the year, in line with the recommendations of technical experts, added Toledo. “If tailings pond no.4 is already nearing completion, the construction of tailings pond no. 5 may commence,” he said.
Toledo said production at Padcal mine will remain suspended until the mine is deemed fit for operations.
The indefinite closure of the mine is expected to have a “severe and substantial” impact on the company’s bottom-line, Philex chairman Manuel Pangilinan told Rappler.
Their targeted P4 billion profit for the year will likely drop to between P1.5 to P1.7 billion, “a significant decrease,” added Pangilinan. – Rappler.com
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