TUBA, BENGUET – Philex Mining Corp. has embraced its “poster-boy” image of responsible mining, thankful that both private and public stakeholders, including no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, have taken notice of its decades of efforts geared toward sustainability through community development, environmental protection, nation-building, and economic progress.
In his press briefing in Malacañang Monday night, March 13, Duterte cited Philex Mining’s best practices which other companies could use as their model for carrying out and adhering to responsible mining. The President told reporters in the same event the he was not totally anti-mining.
In a public hearing conducted March 9 at the city hall of Baguio by the House committee on natural resources, congressmen took turns in praising Philex Mining’s efforts in environmental protection through its massive reforestation program, as well as in community development via a number of socioeconomic and cultural projects implemented in its outlying villages.
Duterte mentioned Philex Mining’s cleanup and rehabilitation efforts in Balog Creek, in the Benguet town of Itogon, amounting to more than P1 billion. A tributary to the Agno River, the creek was where the company’s Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 (TSF3), at its Padcal mine, discharged nontoxic tailings and water onto on Aug. 1, 2012, following historically unprecedented rains brought about by two successive typhoons.
The President also cited Philex Mining’s rehabilitation efforts in its Sibutad project, in Zamboanga del Norte, which the company had operated between 1997 and 1999, through its subsidiary, Philex Gold Philippines, Inc. The project has since been placed on a care-and-maintenance phase under Philex Mining’s FMRDP or Final Mine Rehabilitation and/or Decommissioning Plan.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who has been a staunch supporter of responsible mining, has also been reported in the media as having cited Philex Mining’s “excellent record” in dealing with challenges brought about by natural disasters, referring to the 2012 accident in Padcal mine, which is being hosted by the Benguet towns of Tuba and Itogon.
At the public hearing, which lasted six hours, Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan told the audience, composed mostly of anti-mining activists and civil-society groups, that Philex Mining “is one of those companies that practice responsible mining.”
Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang, of the lone district of Kalinga, congratulated Philex Mining for having competently and efficiently presented its documented practices of responsible mining, including its P65 million worth of reforestation program since 1987. The program involves the planting and nurturing of more than 8 million different tree species, with a 90-percent survival rate, in Tuba and Itogon.
The company’s SVP and Padcal resident manager, Manuel Agcaoili, said the 29-year period of reforestation derived from Philex Mining initiative covers more than 2,750 hectares of land at its MPSA 156, of which 2,129 has. are inside the said Mineral Production Sharing Agreement while 621 has. are outside of it.
While it has a total of 5,010 has. under its MPSAs 156 and 276, Philex Mining utilizes a measly 580-ha. area of these for its mining operations: 410 has. for mining facilities and 170 has. for residential and institutional use.
Mayors Victorio Palangdan and Ignacio Rivera, of Itogon and Tuba, respectively, have repeatedly announced Philex Mining’s fulfillment of its responsibilities toward the two municipalities, particularly its recent payment of local business taxes amounting to P15.3 million for 2017.
In compliance with the towns’ respective revenue codes, Tuba was paid almost P8 million, or 44 percent of 1 percent of Philex Mining’s gross receipts for 2016, while Itogon got P7.4 million (41.25 percent).
For his part, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan earlier said that Philex Mining was a living proof that responsible mining could be done, “putting in place safeguards for our environment and, at the same time, contributing to economic progress.”
Baguio Rep. Mark Go earlier said that government could not deny the fact that mining can be a potent tool for economic development. “All the technology in mining would suffer without responsible mining. Now the task is to have a balance between natural resources and sustainable development.” PR / ABN
March 18, 2017
March 18, 2017
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