MANILA, Philippines - Philex Mining Corp. (PMC) is expected to resume the operations of its copper-gold mine in Padcal, Benguet in the middle part of 2013 as it begins the construction of a spillway for its broken tailings pond no. 3 (TP3).
In a press conference yesterday, PMC spokesperson Mike Toledo said the concrete plugging of the condemned Tunnel A of the compromised tailings pond has been completed on Oct. 17.
“We are now putting resources on the making of a spillway. The actual construction of a spillway would start next week and will take three months. We would be able to start operations by mid next year if the government allows it,” said Toledo.
Operations of the mine remain suspended until it is lifted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“In the meantime, we continue to conduct remediation and cleanup efforts,” said
Philex vice president for operations Libby Ricafort said it would cost P400 million to build the spillway.
Ricafort said this would not affect the production capacity of the mine which produces an average of 25,000 tons of ore daily.
“The service life of a TP would last around three years. This will give us time to construct a new tailings pond,” said Ricafort.
The clean up of sediment spillage, on the other hand, is expected to be completed by April next year.
Ricafort said the spillway would be constructed to ensure the safety of the waterways surrounding the Padcal mine.
Philex earlier said that exploration activities are still ongoing in the mining tenement. With the construction of the spillway, the remaining estimated ore reserve of at around 80 million tons in the tenement could still be tapped.
The Padcal mine produces an average of 9.4 million tons of ore per annum.
PMC faces several fines for the tailings spill accident at the Padcal mine which occurred on Aug.1. This include the P1.034 billion imposed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for violation of the Mining Act, the P50,000 penalty imposed by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) for violation of the Envrionmental Compliance Certificate contract as well as the P50,000 to P200,000 per day penalty imposed for violation of the Clean Water Act.
Toledo said PMC intends to resolve the penalty issue with the government within the year.