A LOCAL court in Marinduque has ruled in favor of at least 30 plaintiffs against Marcopper Mining Corp. for a mine spill in 1993.
In December 1993, parts of the structure of Marcopper’s Maguila-guila tailings dam broke and flooded the Mogpog River with toxic waste.
In a decision dated 16 May, the regional court awarded P200,000 in temperate compensation and P100,000 in moral compensation to each of at least 30 plaintiffs. An additional P1 million was awarded as exemplary compensation to all the plaintiffs.
Marcopper is also known for the 1996 Mt. The Taipan pit mining incident, in which drainage tunnels of the company’s open pit mines broke and caused toxic mine tailings to spill into the Boac River.
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said it welcomed the decision on the Marcopper mine spill case.
“We are relieved that the court has finally made a decision in favor of the plaintiffs in the Marcopper mine spill. Marcopper operated under the old mining law,” the chamber said in a statement.
“The incident is a constant reminder to miners around the world that the safety of all stakeholders in host mining communities is paramount. It stresses that extreme consequences for people and the environment from catastrophic failures in tailing facilities are unacceptable,” it added.
The group said that since the incident, new mandatory environmental laws have been introduced to ensure fair and timely compensation for damage and for progressive and sustainable rehabilitation for any negative impact a mining operation or activity may cause.
It also said mining operators need to take specified measures to prevent catastrophic failures in tailing facilities and to implement best practices in planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, monitoring, closure and post-closure activities. – Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson