Open pit method to be used in arsenic-laden Tampakan mine site

Peter Forrestal, Xstrata Copper executive general manager for project development, said in his recent presentation to investors and analysts that the likely method of mining at Tampakan is “open pit.”

He said, too, that current work is also focused on high arsenic ores, waste and tailings disposal, environment, water, geotechnical, infrastructure site identification and sterilization, and on community engagement.

Xstratta copper assumed management control of Sagittarius Mines, Inc., where Forrestal is also president, in the Tampakan operations last March.

In his presentation made available at the company website (www.xstrata.com), Forrestal said commercial operations will likely commence late in 2012.
 
Sagittarius is into copper and gold project development in the towns of Tampakan, Columbio in Sultan Kudarat and Kiblawan in Davao del Sur, despite the opposition of the local Catholic church.
 
Forrestal, in his presentation, did not ascertain the volume of arsenic, said to be one of the most toxic elements found on Earth, in the project development site.

But in a forum here last month, it was pointed out that one of the mountains in the development site is said to have high arsenic content, reportedly the reason why the original proponent of the project, Western Mining Corp., backed out.

An environment official, however, noted that arsenic is naturally occurring on the Earth’s crust. Constancio Paye Jr., director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Southwestern Mindanao, said there are existing mitigating measures to contain its impact to the environment and to human health.
 
But he admitted the government is not conducting its own arsenic assessment in the Tampakan project, saying the proponents would not be given production permit by the government if its mitigating measure that would be contained in the environmental impact assessment would not be up to acceptable standards. (MindaNews)

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