• Philex Padcal mine surviving heavy rains

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    Except for minor road slides, Philex Mining Corp. on Tuesday said that the Padcal mine in Benguet is “doing well” amid heavy rains brought about by Tropical Storm Maring.

    “I am pleased to inform you that Padcal starts to experience good weather after four days of strong rains. No water is going into Penstock B as we raised the level of stop boards,” Philex President and Chief Executive Officer Eulalio Austin said in a text message.

    With the penstock B now closed, Austin said that rainwater has started overflowing at the open spillway with thickness of 0.6 meter.

    Libby Ricafort, Philex Mining vice president and resident manager of Padcal, said that the company is continuing normal operations at the mine.

    “With the two chutes of the open spillway now operational, we can show to our stakeholders that the rehabilitation we did in Padcal will ensure the facility can withstand the worst rains,” Ricafort said in a telephone interview.

    Philex Mining has constructed the P327-million spillway to ensure the safe movement of water from the tailings pond of Padcal in time for the rainy season.

    The open spillway project, a water decanting system that will replace the pond’s underground drainage system, initially involves the construction of two chutes, each measuring 12 meters wide and 300 meters long.

    The spillway plays a crucial part in rehabilitation of Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 (TSF3), as this will drain accumulated water away from the offset dike, which serves as barrier to the tailings and the main dike.

    Ricafort said that the company would continue to monitor the areas surrounding Padcal, as the it continues to record heavy rainfall.

    “The highest recorded was on August 18 with 204 millimeters of rain over a 24-hour period, but it still lower than the 445 mm recorded during the August 1 tailings spill,” he said.

    Ricafort also assure that the spillway can channel as much as 1,000 mm of rains over a 24-hour period—equivalent to about two times the amount of rainfall brought about by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009.

    Philex Mining has established a beach level of 592 meters above sea level with Padcal producing 25,000 to 26,000 tons of tailings daily.

    Meanwhile, the mouth of the open spill way was at 596 meters above sea level.

    “Right now, we are already at 592 meters above sea level. But our experts has suggested that we continue to dump fresh tailings to achieve the desired level of safety,” he said.

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