TUBA, Benguet – The management of the Philex Mining Corporation was grateful to the host and neighboring communities and all other stakeholders for their ability to survive the August 2012 tailings spill that could have put an end to its operations.
Engr. Eulalio B. Austin, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Philex Mining Corporation, claimed the August 2012 tailings spill was the worst incident that happened in the 60-year history of the Padcal mine but the resilience of the mine workers, and the close coordination with the host and neighboring communities, and all other stakeholders to address the spill helped the company survive the tragic incident.
Philex recently celebrated its 60th anniversary as a publicly listed company in the Philippine Stock Exchange being one of the country’s living large-scale mining companies.
“We will not be in our respective positions today if we were not able to effectively and collectively address the problems caused by the tailings spill as a result of the unprecedented volume of water brought by two successive typhoons,” Austin stressed.
Because of the resilience of the mine workers coupled with the support from the host and neighboring communities and other major players, the Philex official said the company was able to resume operations after at least eight months and regained its status in the country’s mining industry.
He pointed out the August 2012 tailings spill is the worst disaster that was experienced by the company in its six decades of operation and it could have spelled its end if it was not able to find the appropriate solution to address the cause of the problem, the penstock drain tunnel system.
According to him, the company’s spillway system is now serving as a model for other mining companies because their personnel could actually see what is happening to the drain systems unlike in the penstock system where people cannot see what is happening inside until serious problem occur.
Austin dedicated the company’s 60th-year celebration of its 60 years to all who were instrumental in addressing this serious problem and to those who helped bring back the normal operation of the company and solidify the partnership with the host and neighboring communities with the people in the mines.
He claimed one of the lessons learned by the company in the said incident is to make sure that all the activities underground are being closely monitored to institute in a timely manner the appropriate solutions for emerging problems.
Austin disclosed the company is doing its best to work out the extension of the firm’s projected mine life 2022 through the exploration of available ore deposits within its over 14,000-hectare tenement as the existing mine operations cover only 700 hectares.