Philex slapped with new fine

By: Niña P. Calleja, January 25th, 2013 12:38 AM

Gold and copper producer Philex Mining Corp. has again been slapped with a fine by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), this time for the pollution inflicted on two bodies of water by the tailings spill at its Padcal mine in Benguet.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange Thursday, Philex said it was served a copy of the order by the DENR’s Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) directing the company to pay an initial amount of P92.9 million.

This latest fine is different from the P1.034 billion penalty earlier imposed on Philex by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for alleged violations of the Mining Act of 1995. The mining law imposes fines of P50 per metric ton of tailings discharged into areas other than the approved tailings disposal area.

The MGB based the fine on the total volume of the discharged tailings from tailings pond No. 3, which reached 20.7 million MT.

The new fine ordered by the DENR stems from the same tailings spill incident but was computed per day—based on the company’s alleged violations of Republic Act 9275, or the Clean Water Act—from Aug. 3 to Nov. 28.

On Aug. 1, 2012, mine sediments from the tailings pond No. 3 of Philex’s Padcal mine flowed into the Balog Creek and the Agno River which is connected to the San Roque Dam in Pangasinan.

The PAB said that as of Nov. 28, mine wastes and sediments were still present and had noticeably remained underneath and along the banks of the Balog Creek and Agno River.

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