MANILA, Philippines – Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp. will spend P1.06 billion for rehabilitation and clean-up efforts at its copper-gold mine in Padcal, Benguet.
In statement issued on Saturday, November 24, the company said around P870 million of the total would be used for the clean-up of the tailings spill in Balog Creek and Agno River until April 2013.
“As we have repeatedly said, Philex Mining is more than willing to pay for anything and everything pertaining to its remediation effort and the cleanup and rehabilitation drive on the waterway affected by the accidental discharge of sediment in Padcal,” Michael Toledo, senior vice president for Corporate Affairs at Philex Mining, said.
The preliminary estimate of cost and timeline for the rehabilitation of the mine was included in the 25-page Philex Padcal Mine TSF3 Rehabilitation and Clean-up Plan submitted by Philex to the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) this week.
Philex began its 26-week clean-up drive in in mid-October, following the remediation phase done between August 1 and October 17. During this period, Philex spent P190 million for food assistance and claims by affected families as well as the clean-up of the tributaries of Agno River, infrastructure, and a medical mission.
Aside from the ongoing clean-up of the affected waterways and the construction of silt traps along the strategic areas in Balog Creek, Philex said it will also conduct a “full characterization” of the creek, reforestation, enhancement of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and the improvement of monitoring procedures.
“The creek’s full characterization involves analyzing sediment and water samples based on critical values established for proper nutrition of the crops to be used in restoration,” the company said.
Other actions include the sealing of Penstock B and Tunnel B which drain water to Balog Creek. Penstock A and Tunnel A were already plugged with concrete after the discharge of sediment on August 1.
Philex will also construct an open spillway to replace the facility’s existing underground drainage system.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has upheld the imposition of a P1.034 billion fine on Philex for violation of the Mining Act of 1995.
The P1.034 billion excludes the fine of between P50,000 to P200,000 for violation of the Clean Water Act, which will be imposed on a per day basis until waterways are cleared of pollution from the mine. The Pollution Adjudication Board continues to deliberate on the total amount of fines to be imposed on the firm.
A fine of P50,000 was also imposed on the company by the Environmental Management Bureau for violation of a provision of its Environmental Compliance Certificate, which states that all mining wastes should be 100% contained. – Rappler.com