TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Benguet Corporation (BC), a local mining company operating in the Cordillera region, is facing a P24 million fine imposed by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) due to leaked tailings in its Antamok open-pit mine.
Reynaldo Digamo, regional director of EMB-Cordillera, said the fine only covered the days from October 27 to November 15.
The leakage has caused pollution of the Agno, Liang and Ambalanga rivers.
”The fine is computed according to the provisions of the Clean Water Act, which provides that the erring company be charged P200,000 per day,” Digamo said, adding that BC will continue to be fined until they are finished cleaning up the leaked mine tailings.
Digamo said the fine will be recommended to the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB), where the BC could also make appeals.
The EMB earlier reported that at least 50,000 metric tons of tailings material leaked into Liang River on October 27 and October 28.
EMB said the leak was reportedly from the mining company’s old Antamok tailings impound area caused by a breach in the drain tunnel of its underground mine due to the unusually heavy rains brought by super typhoon Lawin.
The leaked tailings have flowed from Liang River and converged to the Ambalanga river before going to the Agno rivers.
Digamo said the company has owned up the responsibility of the leak in a meeting with its officials.
But as of Monday, November 21, the company has yet to locate the breach to be plugged, although the mine leaks to the rivers have already been contained.
Meanwhile, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-Cordillera is already assessing the extent of violations of BC, as also a basis in computing for their fines. –northernforum.net