Philex Mining Corporation has pegged that its suspended operations in Padcal, Tuba, Benguet due to tailings pond repair will cost the company P220 million a month.
Philex, in its disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday, said it will continue to suspend its mining and milling operations until the safety and integrity of its tailings pond are assured.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered Philex to cease its operations following a leak in its tailings pond.
Incessant and heavy downpour the past week resulted in an unusual and heavy accumulation of rainwater in Tailings Pond 3 (TP3) causing the discharge of water and sediment from one of the two underground tunnels that drain water from Penstock A.
The suspension would impact on its 2012 earnings, Philex disclosed to the PSE, but iterated environmental safety is paramount.
“The final impact on this year’s earnings will be appreciated after a program to rehabilitate Padcal’s tailings disposal system is developed and implemented, a process which could take some time. A similar restoration plan needs to be established to consider any possible effect on the environment,” Philex’ disclosure reads.
“The board of directors has taken the prudential but painful step of maintaining the suspension of the company’s operations until such time as the appropriate rehabilitation and restoration plans have been composed and approved,” added Philex Chair Manuel Pangilinan.
In a separate statement, officials at the Padcal site iterated the company’s position to continue working with the government in addressing the problem.
Philex president and Chief Operating Officer Eulalio Austin earlier said his team had successfully put in place concrete stopper boards at the penstock area of TP3.
Philex officials said the water and sediments that were discharged from the tailings pond are safe and non-toxic, and that no injuries or fatalities have been reported as a result of the incident.