Jul 052013


ON AUG. 1 last year, Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 of Philex Mining Corp. in Itogon, Benguet, leaked and spilled 20 million metric tons of silt into the Balog Creek and Agno River. As of late April, Philex officials said cleanup in the creek was 98-percent complete. RICHARD BALONGLONG

MANILA, Philippines—The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has allowed Philex Mining Corp. to operate the Padcal mine in Benguet beyond July 7 or when the four-month temporary resumption of operations ends following the breach of a tailings pond in August last year.

In a notice issued on Friday and addressed to Philex president and chief executive Eulalio B. Austin Jr., MGB Acting Director Leo L. Jasareno said the mining company was authorized to continue remediation works on Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 (TSF3).

But Jasareno said the go-ahead was only temporary in that Padcal’s continued operation was allowed while the MGB “is thoroughly reviewing the pertinent technical details” of the repair works.

He added that Philex’s request for permission to continue the production and storage of fresh tailings at TSF3 would be referred to the interagency and Cabinet-level Mineral Industry Coordinating Council.

Jasereno also said that Philex should continue complying with requirements on the “submission of weekly reports by the third-party monitoring team regarding the structural integrity of TSF3 and the status of the remediation measures being implemented.”

Excessive rainfall spawned by a typhoon in August 2012 caused the creation of a sinkhole, which released water and sediments into the nearby Balog Creek that converges with the Agno River.

A temporary resumption of operations was allowed to enable Philex to produce some 25,000 cubic meters of fresh tailings daily, the maximum capacity of its processing plant in Padcal.

In an interview Tuesday, Padcal mine resident manager Libby Ricafort confirmed that the objective might be attained in “more or less two years.”

Philex needs to raise the “beach” or the level of mine tailings to an elevation of 608 meters above sea level. Currently, the level is at 586 meters.

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Tags: Benguet , MGB Acting Director Leo L. Jasareno , mining , Padcal mine , Philex Mining Corporation

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