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Miners seek Philex reopening

Employees of Philex Mining Corp. staged a protest ritual in front of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) headquarters in Quezon City on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, to press for the reopening of the company’s Padcal mine in Benguet. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Employees of Philex Mining Corp. staged a protest ritual in front of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) headquarters in Quezon City on Wednesday to press for the reopening of the company’s Padcal mine in Benguet that the government ordered shut after a massive mine tailing spill in August last year.

About 300 supervisors and rank-and-file employees of the mine slaughtered two pigs on the steps of the MGB office along North Avenue, a reenactment of an ancient Igorot rite to beseech the gods to grant them favors—in this case, their job security back.

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But MGB director Leo Jasareno said Philex has to pay a fine of P1.034 billion by Feb. 19 before the suspension of its operations can be lifted. The company is contesting the fine and seeking a four-month temporary lifting of the suspension order ostensibly to fill up a void created by the mine tailing spillage and prevent further damage to a dike.

The labor protest came after Sen. Sergio Osmeña III called for an inquiry into the massive mine spill.

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In a privilege speech on Tuesday, Osmeña said both Philex and government mining officials have been less than transparent in reporting the impact of the release of more than 20 million metric tons of tailings from the Padcal gold and copper mines.”

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TAGS: Mining and quarrying, Padcal mine, Philex employees, Philex Mining, Philex reopening, Philippines, Protest
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