MANILA, Philippines - Faced with the prospect of paying a huge fine over the leak at its Padcal gold mine, Philex Mining Corp. on Tuesday hit the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for failing to give the company due process.
Mike Toledo, Philex Mining senior vice president for corporate affairs, said the DENR has not given the company any notice or any hearing on the matter.
"It's quite sad and disappointing that before we receive the actual notice or document that shows we have been found to be liable to a certain amount, which by the way is questionable, this has already been released to the media. This is a violation of due process which requires notice and hearing," Toledo said on ANC's News Now.
On Tuesday, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said Philex could be fined double or triple the initial damage assessement of P325 million, after determining the spill was worse than expected.
On top of the fine, Philex will be penalized P200,000 a day due to violation of the Clean Water Act.
Heavy rains has caused the tailings pond to spill into the creek and river. The tailings pond has spilled a total of 6 times since August 1.
Toledo said the company is willing to pay any fine the government may impose, but only after it is given due process.
"We are of the position that this was caused by force majeure and we are willing to pay whatever fees are due us when it comes to cost with respect to rehabilitation," he said.
"We have been transparent and open to the government and the public. We will not run away. Philex will do the right thing and show that responsible mining is possible in this country by meeting head on whatever fees due under the law and after due process and notice and hearing is properly observed, as provided for by the Constitution and the Mining Act."
Philex, a copper and gold producer, is the country's biggest miner. It is led by PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan.