Philex eyes to resume Padcal operations mid-2013
MANILA, Philippines - Philex Mining Corp. expects to resume the operations of its copper-gold mine in Padcal, Benguet mid-2013 as it begins the construction of a spillway for its broken tailings pond.
Philex spokesperson Mike Toledo said they have completed pouring concrete into the condemned tunnel of the tailings pond to prevent further leaks.
“We are now putting resources on the making of a spillway. The actual construction of a spillway would start next week and will take 3 months. We would be able to start operations by mid next year if the government allows it,” said Toledo.
Philex Vice President for Operations Libby Ricafort said the spillway, which will cost P400 million to build, would ensure the safety of the waterways surrounding the Padcal mine.
Operations of the mine will remain suspended until the Department of Environment and Natural Resources lifts the suspension.
In the meantime, Toledo said “we continue to conduct remediation and clean-up efforts.”
The clean-up of sediment spillage is expected to be finished by April, Toledo noted.
Philex faces several fines for the tailings spill accident at the mine, which occurred on August 1.
The fines include the P1.034 billion imposed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau for violation of the Mining Act, and the P50,000 imposed by the Environmental Management Bureau for violation of the company's Envrionmental Compliance Certificate. Philex also faces up to P200,000 fine per day for violation of the Clean Water Act.
Philex is contesting the fines, arguing that the mine accident was not caused by negligence but “force majeure” as non-stop rains weakened the structure of its tailings pond.
Toldeo said the company intends to resolve the penalty issue with the government within the year. - Rappler.com
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