DENR affirms P1-B penalty vs Philex Mining

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Nov 22 2012 01:39 PM | Updated as of Nov 23 2012 04:11 PM

Philex: We already expected decision

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) affirmed on Thursday the P1 billion fine imposed against the Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp for the alleged tailings pond breach at the Padcal mine in Benguet.

This was announced today by Environment Secretary Ramon Paje. The firm was given 45 days to pay its obligations.

The issue stemmed from the August 1 accidental discharge of sediments due to heavy rains from typhoons Ferdie and Gener.

In a phone interview, Philex vice president for corporate affairs Michael Toledo said they already expected the decision based on interviews given by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. 

“We already expected [this]…It’s not a surprise, but we stand by our two-month investigation that standard operating procedures were observed by our employees.”

He said force majeure can only be blamed for the incident. The unprecedented heavy rains affected the tailings breach.

Nonetheless, he said the firm will contest the decision “and exhaust all administrative procedures.”

He said Philex is not remiss in its duties and “will not run away from its obligations.” He said the company is even prepared to shoulder the cost of the clean-up, which is estimated at P1 billion.

Despite this hitch, he sees the scheduled reopening of the Padcal mine by the middle of 2013.

He said the firm will want to operate, in order to provide for social development projects of those in the region. “It’s also for the sake of the workers, the IPs,” he said.