Corporate News

Philex Mining allowed temporary operations

Posted on February 27, 2013

THE GOVERNMENT has allowed Philex Mining Corp. to temporarily resume operations in its mine in Benguet, but only to prevent weakening of the dike diverting water from its damaged tailings facility.

“Philex Mining Corp. is hereby authorized to resume operation in order to undertake urgent remediation measures for Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) No. 3 under its proposed Rehabilitation and Clean-Up Plan,” read an order, dated Feb. 26 and signed by Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo L. Jasareno.

The order, a copy of which was given to reporters, said resumed operations should not exceed four months and that the firm should hire a third party to monitor and audit remediation. The order recalled that Philex Mining submitted a letter, dated Dec. 28 last year, to MGB citing the need for “urgent remediation” to “prevent the weakening… of the main dike protecting TSF No. 3.”

Philex Mining said in a statement yesterday that it was “grateful that government regulators have acknowledged the immediacy of the situation.”

Philex Mining last Feb. 18 paid a P1.034-billion fine to MGB for the waste spill in August last year, even as it maintains it cannot be held liable for the accident that happened amid heavy rains. It faces a separate fine -- now amounting to millions of pesos -- that continues to mount until Balog and Agno rivers have been rehabilitated.

Its shares gained two centavos to P18.02 each yesterday. Philex Mining is partly owned by Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., which also has a stake in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT). Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a minority stake in BusinessWorld.