MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Gov't orders evaluation of mining sites after waste spill

Published by MAC on 2006-07-12

Gov't orders evaluation of mining sites after waste spill

Associated Press, http://business.inq7.net/money/topstories/view_article.php?article_id=9448

12th July 2006

THE PHILIPPINES on Wednesday ordered an evaluation of mining sites in the country after a cyanide-laced waste spill at an Australian-operated mine last year led to suspension of the company's operations.

The evaluation should zero in on the facilities' tailing ponds and waste dumps as the rainy season sets in, Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes told a news conference.

Lafayette Philippines Inc., wholly owned by Australia's Lafayette Mining Ltd., has temporarily suspended operations on Rapu Rapu island in the central Philippines after the incident last year.

Reyes said Lafayette on Monday began a 30-day test run of its mining facility, which could pave the way for resuming its mining operations.

A fact-finding body created by the President to investigate the spill has recommended that the mine be closed, but the government appeared inclined to let it reopen on condition it takes measures to prevent a repeat of the accident.

Regional directors of the environmental department who were directed to make the evaluation were asked to submit reports on the mines within the next 10 days. Mining companies found to have defective facilities will be suspended, Reyes said.

Lafayette's Rapu Rapu Polymetallic Project started commercial production in July last year, producing an average of about 2,500 ounces of gold a month.

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