Trixie looks down at the tailings dam for the Lepanto gold mine in the province of Benguet, where the toxic waste from the mining process are dumped at a rate ranging between 1,500 and 2,500 metric tons per day. This is the third dam built here after the previous two collapsed.

According to a fact-finding mission led by British MP Clare Short, as of 2003, there had been 16 serious tailings dam failures in the Philippines in the past twenty years. Additionally, over eight hundred mine sites have been abandoned and have never been cleaned up. Cleanup costs are estimated in the billions of dollars and the damages caused are irreversible.

This particular dam has been completely inadequate against the torrential downpour during the yearly rainy season and is especially vulnerable to earthquakes as Benguet is directly above a fault line. For years the chemicals have been leaking out into the nearby river systems. (image by Allan Lissner)
Trixie looks down at the tailings dam for the Lepanto gold mine in the province of Benguet, where the toxic waste from the mining process are dumped at a rate ranging between 1,500 and 2,500 metric tons per day. This is the third dam built here after the previous two collapsed. According to a fact-finding mission led by British MP Clare Short, as of 2003, there had been 16 serious tailings dam failures in the Philippines in the past twenty years. Additionally, over eight hundred mine sites have been abandoned and have never been cleaned up. Cleanup costs are estimated in the billions of dollars and the damages caused are irreversible. This particular dam has been completely inadequate against the torrential downpour during the yearly rainy season and is especially vulnerable to earthquakes as Benguet is directly above a fault line. For years the chemicals have been leaking out into the nearby river systems.
©Allan Lissner
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