Philex’s Padcal operations still hanging

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

PHILEX Mining Corporation president and chief executive officer Eulalio Austin on Saturday said they continue to await the permanent lifting order of government, which will allow the mines company to resume full operations.

"We are going back to government right now and saying that we have completed the remediation program we have lined up," Austin told members of media, referring to works implemented after the August 1, 2012 incident when the tailings dam of Philex's Padcal operations leaked.

This as the exec stressed remediation programs implemented do not only ensure the short-term stability of its facilities but more importantly, long-term.


"Right now we can already say that the dam is already stable. But we want to put a rest to all doubts that the same incident will happen again," Austin said.

"[However], we heard the technical working group of the Minerals Industry Coordinating Council, which was created by President Benigno Aquino III to look into the performance of the mining industry, has already submitted a favorable report to the Bureau of Mines," he added.

The mines company is also awaiting the decision of the Pollution Adjudication Board on fines to be imposed on Philex.

"When the August 1, 2012 incident happened, we violated provisions of the Clean Water Act. According to law, a range of fines starting from P10,000 to P200,000 may be imposed on the company. Right now, we are at the upper range and we are negotiating for a lower fine," Austin said.

So far, Philex Mining Corporation has already spent P323 million on its remediation measures. But Austin estimates a total cost of P800 million to satisfy its long-term works.

Meanwhile, Philex Mining Corporation extended its aid to Baguio City adopting portions of the Burnham Park Fence initiated by Bishop Carlito Cenzon, including the arch fronting the Baguio Patriotic School.

In unveiling ceremonies Saturday morning, Austin stressed it is not only its host communities which Philex is willing to help but the Summer Capital as well.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 12, 2014.

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