Sunday 5 August 2012

Operations ceased at Padcal Mine following flooding.

Operations were halted at the Padcal Mine, roughly 200 km north of Manila in the Philippines, this week, following intense flooding caused by a series of typhoons hitting the island, including Typhoon Saola that killed at least 39 people earlier in the week. The mine, which produces gold and copper, is operated by Philex Mining Corp., whose shares have fallen by 7.59% since the closure.

The location of the Padcal Mine. Google Maps.

The mine was initially closed on Wednesday 1 August, following reports that water from a tailing pond was entering the Agno River. After inspections on Mines and Geosciences Bureau on Thursday a formal order to cease operations was issued. Philex Mines have issued statements to the effect that the leak has now been contained, and that any waste that entered the river was 'non-toxic and biodegradable'; though it is unclear what non-toxic and biodegradable waste would be in a tailings pond, structures that are normally erected to hold toxic, non-biodegradable waste, and which typically contain acids and heavy metals. Philex have confirmed operations will not resume until the safety of the tailings ponds can be assured.

The Padcal Mine has suffered problems due to typhoon-related flooding in the past. In 1992 the collapse of a tailings dam released 80 million tonnes of tailings, causing significant problems to farmers downstream of the mine. Another tailings dam collapsed in 2001, again causing extensive damage to farmland.

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