MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Lafayette loses $5.5m after Rapu-Rapu spill accident

Published by MAC on 2005-11-30

Lafayette loses $5.5m after Rapu-Rapu spill accident

By Othel V. Campos, Manila Standard (http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=business04_nov30_2005)

30th November 2005

Lafayette Mining Ltd. lost $5.5 million after shutting down its mining facility in Rapu-Rapu Island in Albay, Lafayette officials said.

"We are about to decommission the gold ore processing plant anyway, but we are eyeing $6 million in revenues from export activities. However, we have only shipped about a third of our production since we have to discontinue operations due to the pond overflow incident," Roger Corpuz, Lafayette Phils. operations manager, said.

Since Oct. 31 when it temporarily shut down its operations due to mine tailing spills, Lafayette lost about $1.5 million.

Despite the two incident last month, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CMP) supported Lafayette in its drive to thoroughly clean up the affected area and abide by the conditions set by the Bureau of Mines and Geosciences.

"We want to allay fears of both the investors and that of the communities hosting mining activities that all remedial measures are being undertaken to correct the spill-over incident in Rapu-Rapu," CMP chairman Artemio Disini said.

He said Lafayette has conducted the necessary steps to clean up the mess "which is not substantial, by the way, unlike the environmental disaster created by Marcopper in Marinduque a few years back."

"The unfortunate spill incident in Rapu-Rapu is no Marcopper and the incident should never happen again," he said.

The CMP's show of support to the independent audit committee is apparently intended to douse irresponsible mining activities in the country conducted before the enactment of Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

CMP said it is on its toes ensuring that all remedial steps will be done, particularly on the safety and structural capability of Lafayette's tailings dams.

"This incident should serve as a wake-up call for all mining companies. The Chamber would also want to remind the mining industry that we can pursue mining activities in a safe and less destructive manner and that the incident should not prevent other mining companies to invest in the Philippine mining industry," Disini said.

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