MANILA, Philippines – Listed Philex Mining Corporation of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan on Friday, June 6, paid the penalty of P188.6 million due to the massive tailings spill that occurred in its Padcal copper-gold mine in Itogon, Benguet.
The penalty was imposed for violation of the Clean Water Act during the period August 2012 to February 2014.
In February 2013, Philex also settled a record fine of P1.034 billion imposed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for violation of the Mining Act of 1995.
In August 2012, Padcal’s tailings storage facility (TSF) no. 3 collapsed amid torrential rains, spilling tons of sediment into the Agno River and Balog Creek.
The mine was ordered closed by the government after the spill. It was allowed to resume partial operations in 2013 to rehabilitate the compromised tailings facility.
On May 26, 2014, the pollution board said the water quality in the waterways affected by the spill is now within the water criteria required by the government.
The Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) ruled that all heavy metals and total suspended solids were within the standard water quality after testing water samples collected from Balog Creek and Agno River from March 14 to 15, 2013.
The findings confirmed the testing conducted by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) on October 8, 2012, whose results showed the discharges were non-toxic.
PAB, a quasi-judicial body ruling on pollution cases, also recognized the rehabilitation works and the cleanup activities conducted by Philex in the environs of the mine.
“We’ve always expressed our commitment to abide by government rules, including on environmental protection,“ Philex Mining President and CEO Eulalio Austin said in a statement.
MGB Director Leo Jasareno said Philex would continue the ongoing rehabilitation measures in the mine. “There are still rehabilitations works [to be completed],” he said.
Philex earlier said it is scouring the environs of the Padcal mine for viable deposits to extend its lifespan beyond 2020. – Rappler.com
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