MGB to Philex: Pay P1-B fine in cash, not installment

by Kathleen A. Martin,

Posted at Feb 15 2013 11:11 AM | Updated as of Feb 15 2013 11:26 PM

 MANILA, Philippines - The government has rejected Philex Mining Corp.'s request to be allowed to pay the P1.034-billion fine on an installment basis, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau chief said on Friday.

"Sa isang liham po namin sa Philex na dated February 13 ay nireject po ng opisina namin ... yung pong installment payment," MGB Director Leo Jasareno told DZMM's Failon Ngayon.

"Ang sinabi po natin ay dapat po cash payment po yung penalty na yun," Jasareno continued.

Philex Mining has been slapped a record fine of P1.034 billion for a waste spill in its Padcal mine in Benguet that occurred August last year.

The mining company has been given until February 19 to pay the fine after the government refused an earlier petition to waive the penalty even as Philex promised to clean up the spill and rehabilitate affected areas.

"Babayaran po [yung fine] sa Mines and Geosciences Bureau on or before February 19... ireremit [yan] sa National Treasury at mag-a-accrue sa reserve fund na gagamitin pambayad sa sinuman na magclaim ng danyos para sa impact ng tailings spill," Jasareno said.

Padcal mine operations had been suspended since August and Philex is expected to be get a temporary relief to re-open the mine to produce tailings needed to prevent the waste dam from breaking again.

Normal operations is possible to resume in the second half, Jasareno earlier this month said, after Philex completes clean-up, rehabilitation and repairs in the mine and surrounding area.