Philex allowed to temporarily open part of Padcal mine
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has given Philex Mining Corp. a temporary permit to resume operations at its Padcal mine but only to produce tailings the company said is needed to prevent its tailings dam from breaking again.
MGB Director Leo Jasareno in a text message said the permit to temporarily reopen the Padcal mine was issued on Tuesday. The permit allows Philex to operate for four months.
"Philex was allowed to fill up the void in the tailings pond with fresh tailings. This is to avoid the greater risk of a collapse of the main dike due to the adverse action of water that has filled the void," Jasareno said.
He said about 3.5 million tons of tailings are needed to fill the dam, which will take four months of operations.
"If we don't allow this and the main dike will collapse, about 140 million metric tons of tailings will spill to Agno River. That will be more catastrophic," he said.
Jasareno said a third party monitoring team will be keeping watch over the operations 24/7 during the four month period.
Operations at Padcal mine has been suspended since August last year after a waste spill. The firm has paid P1.034 billion in cash as a penalty for the incident that has affected Balog Creek and the Agno River.
The MGB earlier this month said the miner may be permitted to resume normal operations in the second half of the year after the firm completes the clean-up and rehabilitation of affected areas.