Green group supports calls to decommission Philex mine

LEADERS of environmental group Kalikasan Partylist today supported calls by indigenous people’s groups to immediately close down mining company Philex’s Tailings Pond 3 and to give just compensation for communities affected by recent mine tailings spills.

During a protest action in front of the Philex office in Manila, Kalikasan Partylist President Clemente Bautista, Jr. expressed solidarity with the demands of the Cordillera People’s Alliance and Amianan Salakniban to immediately decommission Philex’s tailings pond.

Last August, operations in Philex’s largest gold mine, the Padcal mine in Itogon, Benguet, were suspended following waste leakage and spills from its tailings ponds.

Bautista called on Philex to provide just compensation to affected communities in Itogon, Tuba and downstream areas of the Agno River where the tailings flow into. The San Roque Dam stands in danger of becoming a catch basin for the mine tailings and sediments expelled by Philex during the disaster.

Kalikasan urged the national government and the Philex management to open the mine facilities for inspection by an independent fact-finding and environmental investigation open to the media. Bautista also urged the DENR to immediately conduct testing on the contaminated areas and disclose its processes and findings.

In light of the Philex disaster, Kalikasan urged the national government to consider suspending operations in other large-scale mining operations around the country to check their vulnerability towards similar mine spills and check their compliance with environmental standards and regulations.

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