Philex to resume full Padcal operations soon?
MANILA, Philippines – Philex Mining Corporation, led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, has completed the rehabilitation and cleanup works required so it could fully operate its Padcal mine in Benguet, according to the Mining Industry and Coordinating Council (MICC).
"The Technical Working Group on Environmental Protection and Legislation finds that Philex Mining, based on the understanding of the nature of the incident and the direct and indirect interventions surrounding it, have made the remedial measures in accordance with the rehabilitation and cleanup plan," MICC, the interagency body tasked to oversee the plan, said.
MICC said the company also addressed the needs of communities affected by the mine's massive tailings spill.
In August 2012, Padcal's tailings storage facility 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 last year for the purpose of rehabilitating the compromised tailings facility.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is reviewing MICC's report along with the petition filed by Philex for the permanent resumption of operations.
MGB Director Leo Jasareno said they are waiting for the results of the discussion between Philex and the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) on the fine imposed on the company for violation of the Clean Water Act.
"We can only come up with a recommendation on the appeal of Philex once we have the official result of their talks with PAB," said Jasareno.
Philex appealed for a lower fine. "There are charges by the PAB that we feel should not be charged," said Philex president and CEO Eulalio Austin.
He noted that as early as October 2012, the company already complied with water safety standards set by the government.
Aside from the PAB fine, Philex also paid MGB a record P1.034 billion fine for the accident.