Philippine gold mine struggles to plug waste spill

Sep 04, 2012
The town of Padcal sits amid the 14,000 hectare (34,580 acre) mining concession of Philex Mining Corp, in the Philippines' northern Benguet province. The Philippines' largest gold mine said Tuesday it was struggling to contain a waste spillage from its tailings dam which has forced it to suspend operations for the past month.

The Philippines' largest gold mine said Tuesday it was struggling to contain a waste spillage from its tailings dam which has forced it to suspend operations for the past month.

The last of a series of leaks at the Padcal mine occurred on August 30 and lasted nearly four hours, Philex Mining said in a disclosure statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

"We confirm that this discharge has been the fourth reported since the first incident that occurred on August 1," it added.

The company and the government had no immediate estimates on how much waste had entered the river systems around the mine, located near the northern resort city of Baguio in the Cordillera mountain range.

The environment department has ruled Philex cannot resume production unless the leak is plugged.

Its stock has been hit, trading at 18.98 pesos (45.33 US cents) Tuesday from 21.95 pesos before the leak was made public on August 3.

Filipino miners step out of the elevator after their shift in Padcal. hief regulator Leo Jasareno, head of the environment department's Mines and Geosciences Bureau, told AFP that Philex Mining is under state orders to plug the Padcal leak immediately, but added neither side could give a timetable.

Chief regulator Leo Jasareno, head of the environment department's Mines and Bureau, told AFP the miner was under state orders to plug the leak immediately, but added neither side could give a timetable.

"These spills are minor ones because the leak (from the August 1 accident) had not been fully plugged," Jasareno said.

Philex was trying to finish a drill hole from where would be poured to seal the leak, but was hampering the effort, he added.

Jasareno and Philex declined to comment on local press reports that up to 6.5 million tonnes of tailings had drained from the Padcal waste dam over the past month.

Jasareno said a government team was set to complete an official investigation next week, after which Philex would be assessed fines or other penalties for the discharge.

"Our current focus is towards the remediation and rehabilitation of the concerned penstock tunnel for which we have retained domestic and foreign third-party consultants to provide assistance," the company statement said.

Company spokesman Mike Toledo was unavailable for comment Tuesday, his office told AFP.

Earlier, Toledo stressed the spill was not toxic.

The accident came amid strong rains induced by Typhoon Saola and intense public debate about the mining industry in the Philippines, which is believed to have some of the biggest mineral reserves in the world.

Explore further: Dam hard: Water storage is a historic headache for Australia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Philippines says mine waste spill contained

Aug 05, 2012

A waste spillage at the Philippines' largest gold mine has been contained after the slime threatened to contaminate one of the country's largest rivers, the government said Saturday.

Toxic spill from China copper mine spreads

Jul 20, 2010

A toxic pollution spill from a mine operated by China's top gold producer Zijin Mining Group has spread to a second province, threatening the fishing industry there, state media said Tuesday.

Philippine mining reforms ignored at gold-rush site

Aug 05, 2012

The Philippine government wants to close thousands of small-scale mines blamed for environmental devastation, but Reynaldo Elejorde insists his chaotic gold-rush mountain town will survive.

Elgin platform gas leak plugged safely, says Total

May 21, 2012

French energy giant Total said Monday it had successfully plugged a gas leak at a North Sea platform that cost the firm hundreds of millions of dollars and threatened to trigger a major explosion.

Recommended for you

TransCanada seeks approvals for pipeline to Atlantic

9 hours ago

TransCanada on Thursday filed for regulatory approval of a proposed Can$12 billion (US$10.7 billion) pipeline to carry western Canadian oil to Atlantic coast refineries and terminals, for shipping overseas.

Does it help conservation to put a price on nature?

12 hours ago

Putting a price on the services which a particular ecosystem provides may encourage the adoption of greener policies, but it may come at the price of biodiversity conservation. Writing today in the journal ...

Reef-builders with a sense of harmony

14 hours ago

Cold-water corals of the species Lophelia pertusa are able to fuse skeletons of genetically distinct individuals. On dives with JAGO, a research submersible stationed at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, scientists ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.