Benguet Corporation assessing cause of Goldfields seepage

Aug 20, 2017

ITOGON, BENGUET -Benguet Corporation is conducting evaluation of the Goldfields area to determine the real cause of the seepage and arrive at a sustainable solution to avoid possible risk to the safety of the adjoining community and the environment.
On August 1, 2017, residents of Goldfields reported the alleged seepage of water at an old mining portal previously operated by the Atlas Mining and Development Corporation.
Lawyer Froilan Roger C. Lawilao, BC administration head, said claims department personnel immediately conducted an inspection of the area and subsequently informed the Baguio Gold Operations management of the incident that resulted to coordination with company miners working at the Colbath outlet to check the area.
He added BC crew immediately installed sandbags in the area to divert water flowing directly into Picao creek and avoid scouring of the area aside from the relayed warnings to the residents to evacuate the area.
Further, the BC official noted that there were no signs of tails on the water discharge and that the water flowing in the area was observe to be partly brownish due to the dilution with muck and that the possibility of any discharge of tailings was totally discounted due to the fact that the elevation of L1160 is much higher than the elevation of Liang tailings storage facility by 105 meters.
He claimed no nearby tunnel is directly connected from Liang tailings storage facility to L1160 portal in relation to various company infrastructures in the area.
On August 2, 2017, he reported that there was an increase in water discharge which flowed in both tunnels, L1160, scouring the old waste muck and the main trail beside and in front of the said tunnel which prompted the company and the municipal government, including the Itogon police, to cordon the area.
On August 3, 2017, BC continue monitoring the affected area and found out that there was no significant damage on the affected areas and downstream and that the brownish water discharged turned clear.
After the conduct of an inspection of the area by Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Cordillera regional director Reynaldo Digamo on August 5, 2017, an emergency meeting was conducted at the EMB-CAR regional office that resulted to the agreed conduct of the courses of action, particularly the schedule of the conduct of a joint geohazard investigation of the area by concerned government agencies, local government and company geologists to assess the stability of the Goldfields Elementary School; the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to issue an official advisory whether or not to will be safe to resume classes and for the company to conduct sandbagging along the base and riprap supporting the school to protect its foundation.Results of water samples taken by the EMB-CAR of the water discharges and its vicinity have shown that all components passed the standard levels provided for by law.
Lawilao asserted the company continued the sandbagging activities in the area and concluded the same on August 10, 2017. The company likewise installedbarricades using galvanized iron sheets along the affected area as well as installation of burlaps above the tunnel.
He appealed to concerned stakeholders to avoid coming out with speculations over the incident and instead await for the results of the detailed evaluation so as not to add up to the confusion being caused by unverified reports on the said incident. PR / ABN

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