MANILA, Philippines - The Mines and Geosciences Bureau is set to release "soon" its decision on whether the P1-billion fine slapped on Philex Mining Corp. for tailings leak can be utilized for rehabilitation, the agency's chief Leo Jasareno said on Friday.
"Anytime soon, lalabas na yan (the decision)," Jasareno told DZMM's Failon Ngayon.
The fine imposed on the Manuel V. Pangilinan-led company stemmed from a tailings leak from its Padcal mine in Benguet after heavy rains from typhoons Ferdie and Gener battered the area.
Jasareno recounted the MGB last month ruled Philex Mining should pay the P1-billion fine, which represents a penalty of P50 per ton of discharged tailings.
"Binigyan po natin sila ng taning para sa motion for reconsideration at nag-file naman sila. Sa motion nila... sinabi nila na willing silang magbayad pero dapat ang P1 billion ay gamitin sa pagrehabilitate ng dalawang ilog na napinsala," Jasareno said.
But the mining bureau head explained that the penalty is separate from the miner's responsibility to fund a clean-up of damaged areas due to operations, or in this case, the tailings leak.
This now leads to MGB discussing whether Philex Mining can use the P1-billion penalty to rehabilitate areas near the Padcal mine instead.