MANILA, Philippines - Listed Philex Mining Corp. has completed the cleanup and rehabilitation work in its copper-gold mine in Benguet required for the resumption of normal operations, according to the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC).
In a report, the MICC said the company has completed the repair and clean up works included in the workplan it submitted in the aftermath of the massive tailings spill that occurred in August 2012.
Immediate rehabilitation works carried out by Philex include the decommissioning of two penstocks of the compromised tailings storage pond no. 3 and the commissioning of the new spillway.
“The Technical Working Group on Environmental Protection and Legislation finds that Philex Mining Corp., 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 clean up plan,” the MICC said in the report.
The MICC said the company has also addressed the needs of communities affected by the spill.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is now reviewing the MICC 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 fines 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 president and CEO Eulalio Austin earlier said the firm has appealed for the reduction of the fine and the number of days subject to the fine.
“There are charges by the PAB that we feel that should not be charged.
That’s why we are appealing that with the PAB,” he said.
He noted that as early as October 2012, the company complied with the water safety standards set by the government.
“Three months into the incident, we complied with the Clean Water Act.
The water discharges are within standards already,” he said.
Philex is already scouring the environs of the mines for viable deposits that can extend its lifespan beyond 2020.