Philex cleanup budget for Padcal to breach P1B

P870M will go to cleanup of Benguet’s Balog Creek

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12:30 AM November 26th, 2012

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By: Riza T. Olchondra, November 26th, 2012 12:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Philex Mining Corp. said it would spend more than P1 billion for the rehabilitation and cleanup of Balog Creek near its Padcal mine.

In a statement sent over the weekend, Philex Mining said it would spend P870 million for the rehabilitation and cleanup of Balog Creek and its convergence area with Agno River until April 2013. This, the company said, brings to P1.06 billion the “initial budget” for the affected waterway following the August 1 accident at Padcal mine in Benguet.

The 26-week rehab and cleanup drive, which started in mid-October, follows the remediation phase done by Philex Mining between August 1 and October 17. During that time, the company said it spent P190 million for food assistance to and claims by the affected families, the annual cleanup of the tributaries of Agno River, infrastructure and medical mission.

The listed mining company said this “preliminary estimate” of costs and overall timelines were included in the report “Philex Padcal Mine TSF3 Rehabilitation & Cleanup Plan,” which was submitted Thursday to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“To complement the cleanup, a medium- and long-term environment management program will be implemented to rehabilitate and enhance the river basin ecosystems,” according to the 25-page report signed by Philex Mining President and COO Eulalio Austin, Jr.

Besides the ongoing cleanup of and the construction of silt traps along the strategic areas in Balog Creek, Philex Mining also set to conduct a “full characterization” of the creek, reforestation, enhancement of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and the improvement of monitoring procedures. The creek’s full characterization involves analyzing sediment and water samples based on “critical values established for proper nutrition of the crops to be used in restoration and enhancement.”

“As we have repeatedly said, Philex Mining is more than willing to pay for anything and everything pertaining to its remediation effort and the cleanup and rehabilitation drive on the waterway affected by the accidental discharge of sediment in Padcal,” SVP for corporate affairs Michael Toledo said.

Other items under the company’s rehabilitation drive involving the accidental discharge of sediment from its Tailings Storage Facility No. 3, in Itogon, Benguet, include the construction of an open spillway and the sealing off of Penstock B and Tunnel B. The spillway will replace tailings facility’s existing underground drainage system while Penstock B drains water to Balog Creek through Tunnel B.

Penstock A and Tunnel A had already been plugged with concrete after the accidental discharge of sediment on Aug. 1, following historically unprecedented heavy rains brought about by typhoons Ferdie and Gener, Philex said.

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