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ITOGON: Traces of heavy metal copper were found in the Balog river in Itogon, Benguet near Philex Mining Corp’s Padcal mine, an independent and multi-sectoral fact-finding mission said yesterday.
“The breach of Tailings Pond 3 last August resulted in the deposition of the heavy metal copper in the Balog-Agno junction,” said Centre for Environmental Concerns Philippines Senior Researcher Rog Amon during Friday’s presentation of the study they conducted with the Scientist group Advocates of Science and Technology for the People last October.
Laboratory analysis of sediments collected in the impact areas pegged the highest concentration of copper in the area at 450 ppm, the findings reportedly said.
“At that level, the amount of copper in the junction is four to five times greater than threshold limit for copper in sediments based on international standard,” added Amon.
The maximum tolerable copper concentration in sediments in Australia, a mining country, is set at 86 ppm.
Philex earlier claimed the leaks last year was caused by the typhoons and was not of their own making, hence earlier contesting the Mines and Geosciences Bureau’s P1bn ($25m) fine.
Philex is now asking the government to allow its reopening following its temporary halt after the mine disaster last August. Philex said the safety of the tailings dam even if mitigating measures have been put in place is still precarious.
The Philippine star