MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Philippines To Probe Claim Of Dam Failure At Tvi Pacific's Mine

Published by MAC on 2007-07-19
Source: Bloomberg

Philippines to Probe Claim of Dam Failure at TVI Pacific's Mine

By Luzi Ann Javier, Bloomberg -

19th July 2007

The Philippine government will send a team to investigate an allegation from an environmental group that a dam collapsed at TVI Pacific Inc.'s gold and copper mine in Mindanao. The Calgary-based company said the claim was untrue.

"We will convene a team to inspect ahead of the regular monitoring schedule,'' Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Jessica Lucero said from Zamboanga city in Mindanao. The mine is normally inspected once every three months.

The Philippines, which may have $1 trillion in mineral wealth, is trying to balance concerns for environmental safety with a drive to attract overseas investments in the mining industry. The government closed Lafayette Mining Ltd.'s copper- gold mine for 15 months from 2005 after a cyanide spill.

The Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment said in a statement a so-called sulphide dam at the Canatuan mine in Siocon town, Zamboanga del Norte province, collapsed on July 11 after heavy rains. The group had photographs to back the claim, it said.

The planned inspection ``is fine with us,'' Jay Nelson, vice president for the environmental department at TVI Pacific's Philippine unit, said by phone today. The dam was still under construction, and will be used once a mill is completed in March, Nelson said.

To contact the reporter for this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Manila

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