Philex ready to spend P1 billion for Padcal rehab
Nov 26, 2012 (Menafn - The Manila Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Philex Mining Corp. will be spending over P1 billion for the rehabilitation and cleanup of Balog Creek and its convergence area with Agno River until April 2013.
In 25-page report submitted to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Philex will be spending an additional P870 million, on top of the initial P190 million spent on remediation and restoration, for clean up operations in affected waterways, following the August 1 leak at its Padcal mine in Benguet province.
"This will bring the total amount for the rehabilitation tailings storage facility 3 [TSF3] and affected waterways to about P1.06 billion until mid-2013," said Eulalio Austin Jr., Philex president and chief operating officer.
To complement the cleanup, Austin said that a medium- and long-term environment management program would be implemented to rehabilitate and enhance the river basin ecosystems.
He noted that the 26-week rehab and cleanup drive, which started in mid-October, follows the remediation phase done by Philex between August 1 and October 17, where the company spent P190 million for food assistance to and claims by the affected families, the annual cleanup of the tributaries of Agno River, infrastructure and medical mission.
Michael Toledo, Philex senior vice president for Corporate Affairs, reiterated that the company "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.
Besides the ongoing cleanup of and the construction of silt traps along the strategic areas in Balog Creek, Toledo said that Philex is also set to 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 and enhancement."
Other items under the company's rehabilitation drive involving the accidental discharge of sediment from its TSF3 in Itogon, Benguet, include the construction of an open spillway and the sealing off of Penstock B and Tunnel B.
The spillway will replace TSF3's existing underground drainage system while Penstock B drains water to Balog Creek through Tunnel B.
Penstock A and Tunnel A had been plugged with concrete after the accidental discharge of sediment, following historically unprecedented heavy rains brought about by typhoons Ferdie and Gener.
Once found satisfactory, MGB Director Leo Jasareno said that they would requirement Philex to immediately implement the clean up plan to for TSF3.
On Thursday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources turned down the company's appeal against the P1.034-billion penalty for the pollution caused by the accidental spill of the Padcal mine's TP3.
The Environment bureau, noting that the fine was imposed for violation of the Mining Act of 1995, also gave Philex 45 days to comply with the order, or face suspension of its environmental compliance certificate.
Under the Mining Act, a penalty of P50 per metric ton of tailings "discharged into areas other than the approved tailings disposal area" is imposed.
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