TUBA, Benguet – Philex Mining Corp. had spent a total of P1.56 million between 2015 and 2016 for its rehabilitation efforts—such as the replanting and reforestation of disturbed areas as well as the backfilling of abandoned drill sites—at its two production-sharing agreements with the government and in connection with its Padcal operations in this province.
This according to Julius Bayogan, manager at Padcal mine’s Environmental Quality Monitoring and Enhancement Dept. (EQMED), saying the environmental work at Philex Mining’s MPSAs 156-2000-CAR and 157-2000-CAR in the host towns of Tuba and Itogon also involved the sandbagging of excavated soil, soil-erosion prevention, handling of toxic materials, socioeconomic mitigating measures, and protection measures for employees.
An MPSA, or Mine Production Sharing Agreement, provides for the government to share in the production of a contractor (miner) in kind or in monetary value.
Bayogan, a licensed mining engineer and mine environmental protection and enhancement officer, said backfilling and sedimentation ponds fall within the progressive rehabilitation of areas subject to exploration under Philex Mining’s Environmental Work Program for MPSAs (EWPM), while the sandbagging is part of the management of stockpile of removed earth.
The replanting and reforestation activities, he stressed, got the lion share of the 2016 EWPM expenditure to the tune of P1.28 million. “We have always been consistent in our efforts geared toward environmental protection,” he said. “There was no replanting and reforestation done in the said areas in 2015 pending the evaluation of drilling results.”
Bayogan also said Philex Mining had completed drilling six holes at the Bumolo Prospect of MPSA 156-2000-CAR, with an aggregate meterage of 17,782 meters, between July and December last year. It was also in July 2016 when surface exploration was started in the TAPSAN area of Itogon’s Brgy. Ampucao. TAPSAN stands for Sitios Tapaya, Saes, and Nay-en.
A geologic mapping and small-scale adit (a nearly horizontal entrance to an underground mine) investigation was also done at Sitio North Midway, also in Brgy. Ampucao, during the second semester of 2016.
During the first half of 2016, meanwhile, Philex Mining had drilled 39 holes at the Bumolo Prospect of MPSA 156-2000-CAR.
The company’s CEO and president, Eulalio Austin, Jr., told reporters during Philex Mining’s annual stockholders’ meeting in Manila last month the Bumolo porphyry copper-gold deposit near Padcal mine could extend the life of Padcal for another two years, or until 2024 from the current 2022, although this was still subject for further study.
Located in the Baguio mineral district and is only 1.5 kilometers east of the Sto. Tomas II deposit of Padcal mine, the Bumolo porphyry’s maiden inferred mineral resources have been estimated at 21.7 million tons at 0.2 percent copper and 0.3 grams per ton gold.
Austin also told reporters the inferred mineral resources represented the first phase of the ongoing resource definition drilling program, which aims to advance the project and provide additional ore to Padcal mine. “To convert a resource to a mineable reserve, you have to input the price of metal and cost of doing it,” he was quoted in the media as saying.
In 2015, the company had drilled 11 holes during the second semester as it continued its drilling operations within the Bumolo Prospect and 773 meter level (ML) exploration project within the MPSA 156-2000-CAR.
Bayogan said it was in the first semester that the company started its exploration campaign within the Bumolo project, drilling two sites and spudded three drill holes within the first drill site, with a maximum of 680 meters. The fourth drill hole, on the other hand, was located in the second drilling site.
By Dexter A. See