Itogon allows ISRI to raise dam level
The Itogon-Suyoc Resources, Inc. (ISRI) has been given the green light by its host community and residents to raise by an additional four meters its tailings storage facility to ensure safety in its area of operation.
The community’s approval is contained in a memorandum of agreement signed between leaders of Barangay Poblacion and ISRI officials on Jan. 24.
The MOA also contained the 16 provisions, which ISRI has committed to fulfill with support from the host community and residents.
Among the conditions stated in the MOA are sustained monitoring of the project, provision of financial and technical assistance to the community, establishment of the environmental guarantee fund, priority for employment to qualified residents, designation of working areas for small-scale miners, and mutual respect for the rights of concerned parties.
ISRI Resident Manager Eric Andal told reporters last week that Barangay Poblacion gave its approval for the raising of the TSF after government and private engineers gave favorable review to the design of the project.
Andal said it will take 10 months for the company to raise the TSF level to complete the five meter-phase one of the project should there be no major typhoons to hit the locality.
Andal said a monitoring committee composed of technical people from the community will ensure that implementation of the company’s dam enhancement project is in compliance with project specifications and standards as presented to the community in previous consultations.
Earlier, ISRI had completed the further fortification of the dam’s stability, working on the anchor, the dam crest, and the face of the facility as a pre-condition to the dam’s raising.
Andal also clarified the 1994 MOA signed between the former Itogon Suyoc Mines, Inc. (ISMI) and Barangay Poblacion is still binding, and compliance to its provisions is regularly reviewed by a panel.
In the 1994 MOA, the company was allowed to put up a tailings pond to a maximum height of 980 meters. One of the conditions in the agreement is that when the level of the dam reaches 965 meters, the company is allowed to gradually increase the height of the dam up to a maximum of 15 meters which will be done in three stages where consultations with the community is required for every five meters increase in the dam height.
ISRI is the assignee-company in 2002 of all mining assets of the former ISMI, which consist of the Sangilo Mine in Itogon and the Suyoc Mine in Mankayan, in Benguet. Its parent company is Apex Mining Co. Inc. – Harley F. Palangchao