New fine: Philex ordered to pay P92.8-M over pollution issues
MANILA, Philippines - Following its request to temporarily operate its mine waste facility as part of rehabilitation efforts, gold producer Philex Mining Corp. received instead an order barring it from using its tailings pond and to pay a P92.8 Million fine.
On Thursday, January 24, Philex disclosed to the exchange that it received a notice of issuance from the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB)to cease-and-desist from using its tailings pond at its Padcal mine in Benguet following a mine spill in August 2012.
"After due deliberation and consultation, the Board resolves to order respondent (Philex) to Cease and Desist from operating and using its Tailing Pond No. 3. This order shall remain in effect until the Tailings Pond No. 3 shall have been completely restored and its structural integrity ensured as confirmed and certified by the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB)," the letter from the pollution body said.
"The respondent is also directed to pay the initial amount of fines imposable as of 28 November 2012 amounting to P92.8 million," it added.
The fine is separate from the previous P1 billion fine the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has imposed and Philex needs to settle by February. The PAB is a quasi-judicial body under the DENR Secretary.
The pollution body has cited the impact of the tailings spill on the water system in the area, particularly the Balog and Agno rivers,
Leo Jasareno, MGB executive director, told reporters that this penalty is imposed over violations of the Clean Water Act.
The DENR earlier announced that a fine of P50,000 to P200,000 per day would be imposed.
Philex had asserted that the Padcal mine tailings leak incident was due to force majeure since record rainfall was experienced in the area days before the leak.
Below is the order from the PAB released January 24.