Philex gets int’l certification for environmental protection


TUBA, Benguet  – Philex Mining Corp. has obtained its certification for Integrated Management System (IMS), an affirmation of the company’s successful programs on environmental protection and work safety.

“With this certification, we have emphasized our care for the environment and the safety of our people,” the company’s CEO and president, Eulalio Austin, Jr., said. “Environmental awareness and looking after the safety of workers are the trademarks of a responsible miner.”

The IMS Certification, granted by TÜVRheinland, a technical-services provider with headquarters in Germany and has presence in 65 countries and 36 business fields, covers Philex Mining’s environmental management system and safety management.

Noel Tan, head of IMS at Philex Mining’s Padcal mine, said the company’s IMS Certification consists of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2004 and the OHSAS 18001:2007. The safety management includes operations in mining, milling, and tailings storage facilities.

With this certification, he stressed, Padcal mine is now compliant to Administrative Order No. 2015-07, issued recently by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, mandating large-scale mining companies to secure ISO 14001 Certification.

According to the TÜVRheinland, ISO 14001:2004 is a “systematic approach” for the improvement of performance in environmental protection while OHSAS 18001:2007 is “a recognized standard for the internal and external assessment of Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Management Systems.”

Philex Mining, winner of a number of environmental awards, had sought the higher-level IMS Certification for its operations in Benguet after it fulfilled immediate remediation measures for the safety and integrity of Padcal mine’s Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 (TSF3).

The gold-and-copper producer had voluntarily suspended operations immediately when its TSF3, in Itogon town, discharged nontoxic water and sediment on Aug. 1, 2012, following historically unprecedented rains brought about by two successive typhoons. It had first resumed production starting from March 8, 2013 based on a four-month temporary lifting order issued by government and which was extended indefinitely afterwards. On Aug. 28, 2014, Philex Mining received an order from government regulators allowing it to resume normal operations.

The IMS may cover all company processes and the management requirements on environment as well as quality and labor protection. This streamlined and interlinked approach to management reduces costs, as compared to when a multitude of different management systems are pursued alongside each other in a company.

Padcal mine had planted 305,590 seedlings across 390 hectares of land, bringing to over 8 million seedlings of various fruit-bearing tree species planted in 2,465 hectares of land in Itogon and Tuba, Philex Mining’s two host towns in Benguet.

Between 2015 and 2020, Philex Mining and its subsidiaries Philex Gold Philippines, Inc. and Silangan Mindanao Mining Co., Inc. plan to plant 1.75 million trees and mangroves across 918 hectares of land and coastal areas in Tuba, Sipalay City and Sibutad (in Negros Occ.), and Tubod (Surigao del Norte).

By Dexter A. See