Philex pays P188-M fine over Padcal mine leak

Posted at 06/06/14 11:21 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Philex Mining, led by businessman Manuel Pangilinan, on Friday said paid a P188 million fine to the government over the tailings leak at Padcal mine in Benguet in 2012.

The Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) had imposed the P188.6
million fine on Philex in connection with the accidental discharge of non-toxic water and sediment from Padcal's tailings storage facility no. 3 (TSF3), in violation of the Clean Water Act of 2004 (RA 7295).

"We’ve always expressed our commitment to abide by government rules, including on environmental protection, for our smooth operations and continued service to our country and to all our other stakeholders... We will today pay our obligation to the government," Philex Mining CEO and President Eulalio Austin, Jr. said.

The company's main mining site in the northern mountain district of Padcal suffered a spill of mine waste or "tailings" in August 2012 after the area was hit by two powerful typhoons.

In its five-page resolution, PAB noted that the effluent and water samples collected and analyzed from Balog Creek and Agno River from March 14-15, 2013 were "within the water quality criteria required by government."

This was similar to the test done by the Environmental Management Bureau last October 18, 2012 on the creek and river, where the TSF3 discharged its non-toxic water.

“After a thorough review of the recommendation of the Board, applicable legal principles as well as the arguments advanced by [Philex Mining] in its [motion for reconsideration], the undersigned deems it just to partially reconsider the original order,” the PAB said in a five-page order signed by presiding officer, Environment Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio, Jr.

Philex had also paid a record P1.034 billion fine to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for the accident.

Last March, Philex said it had completed the cleanup and rehabilitation work in its copper-gold mine in Benguet required for the resumption of normal operations.