To witness first hand that responsible mining is real, the Sanguniang Bayan (SB) Officials of the Municipality of Dinapigue went to Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan.
They visited the mining and rehabilitation areas of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. – Nickel Asia Corp’s subsidiary company as well as Coral Bay Nickel Mining Corp (CBNC).
Composing the delegation were Municipal Office Administrator Ruth Derije, wife of Mayor Reynaldo Derije, SB Con Aldo Rey Vargas, SB Con Anatalio Donato, SB Con Corazon Diaz, SB Con Felicita Felix, SB Con Patrick Andres, SB Con Vicente Mendoza, SB Con Fernando Duque, SB Secretary Pablito Villareal, Hon. Paul John Derije – Liga ng mga Barangay President and Joe Donato, Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer.
According to Romulo Subong, the Project Officer in Charge of Dinapigue Mining Corp. (DMC), the Sanguniang Bayan officials recently passed the resolution interposing no objection to the application of the special Tree cutting permit of DMC as part of its mining operation.
The Sanguniang Bayan members wanted to get assurances that DMC will adhere to the requirements of the application.
“DMC wanted to show to the SB members that we are committed, and what better way to show it than to have them tour RTNMC, which is a showcase of responsible mining and environmental protection and rehabilitation,” said Subong.
Before the actual mine site tour commenced, the delegates underwent an orientation and a discussion on the best practices of RTNMC in safety, environmental management, human resource and employment benefits and social development and corporate efforts.
During the orientation Mayora Derije got the chance to express her gratitude in behalf of the group and husband—Mayor Derije, who were not able to join the visit.
“Maraming salamat po sa Dinapigue Mining Corp., Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp at Nickel Asia Corp dahil nabigyan kami ng pagkakataong makarating dito sa Rio Tuba upang makita ang mga best practices ninyo at kung ano ba ang Responsableng Pagmimina.
The delegates toured around the mine site of RTNMC and also the plant site of CBNC.
Of course, they went to the Rehabilitation area of RTNMC at GP4 (Gintalunan Pit No. 4) and the progressively rehabilitated area, Mangingidong Pit. They also visited the progressive rehabilitation of CBNC at TSF1.
During their visit at GP4 the delegates were impressed with the remarkable work of RTNMC and CBNC in their rehabilitation projects.
“Mostly, laging sinasabi ng mga tao doon sa amin sa Dinapigue, ‘ay wala na! na mined out na yan, hindi na pwedeng taniman pa’ So ngayon actual naming nakita ang rehabilitation dito. Kaya kami na mismo ang magpapaliwanag sa kanila na pwede pala!” expressed with conviction by SB Mendoza.
After seeing the rehabilitation areas, the delegates got more interested in the Pollution Control Practices of RTNMC so they went to the siltation pond and the settling ponds, to see if run off waters are free of silts before discharging to Rio Tuba River.
“Ang linis ng lumalabas na tubig from siltation pond, ang galing ng technology na ginagawa nyo rito,” said Joe Donato, CENRO.
The next stop they had was the Pier site where barge loading takes place. Hon. Derije asked how the company is able to maintain the cleanliness of the shore despite the long run operation of RTNMC.
Engr. Compeseño answered: “We have series of siltation ponds here, wherein water with silts are trapped kaya po hindi mapula ang aming dagat and we also do dredging.”
The group had the chance to visit the Barangay Hall of Rio Tuba and chat with Barangay Captain Nelson Acob about the impact of mining operations on the community of Rio Tuba.
Afterwards, the group went to one of the host communities of RTNMC for its Social Development and Management Program, which was in Barangay Ocayan.
There, they saw the vegetable production project for indigenous people and construction of different infrastructures like Barangay Hall, bridges, road concreting, health center, day care center and many more.
Their visit naturally included the famous IMac Computer Laboratory of Leonides S. Virata Memorial School and its newly constructed Senior High School Building.
“Mag aaral kayong mabuti mga anak, napaka swerte nyo dahil natatamasa nyo ang mga ganitong bagay na ipinagkakaloob sa inyo ng mining company,” said SB Corazon to the students while having their computer exercise.
Part of their itinerary was the visit to Rio Tuba Foundation Inc. Hospital – one of the biggest Corporate Social Responsibility of RTNMC and CBNC.
RTNFI Hospital caters to employees and their dependents, Indigenous People from host and neighboring communities and others coming from all over the Municipality of Bataraza since it is the only hospital in the municipality.
At the last night of the delegates, RTNMC management prepared dinner and socials where great food and drinks were served to celebrate the tiring yet very informative tour.
Engr. Philipp D. Ines, RTNMC Resident Mine Manager, reassured to the delegates that, what they have seen in Rio Tuba will also be practiced in Dinapigue or in all areas where NAC will operate because it’s the company’s commitment to protect, reclaim and enhance the environment.
“Kung ano po ang pansamantalang masisira ng mina sa inyong lugar masisigurado ko po sa inyo na hindi po kayo pababayaan ng NAC. Hindi nya po tatakbuhan ang minahan na nakatiwangwang kundi gagawin nya po ang mga best practices nya sa rehabilitation, kung saan inaapply na namin dito sa RTNMC, ganun din sa iba pang minahan ng NAC tulad ng Taganito Mining Corp., Cagdianao Mining Corp. at Hinatuan Mining Corp,” said Ines.
Engr. Ines added: “Sana po sa pag–uwi nyo, mabitbit at maibalita nyo ang mga magagandang nakita dito na totoo pong may responsableng pagmimina at hindi lamang sa libro o sa komiks ito.”
Mayora Derije expressed her enthusiasm that, RTNMC made notable works in the development of the community and indeed mining can be done responsibly if the company is committed.
“Maraming salamat po dahil nasaksihan namin na mayroon nga po pala talagang maayos na pagmimina at ito po ay magagawa kung talagang gugustuhin,” she said.
She also shared that while travelling from one destination to another they have envisioned that in time the people of Dinapigue will also benefit from the positive impacts and development that DMC will bring.
“Kanina nga po, na envision na po namin na sa darating na panahon, kagaya dito sa Rio Tuba, ay makikinabang ang mga taga Dinapigue sa magandang benepisyo at naidudulot ng mina sa mahabang panahon,” she said.
Moreover, Mayora Derije said: “Rest assured po na mula po sa mga nakita naming mas lalong lumawak ang aming pag–uunawa sa kahalagahan ng pagmimina. Hindi naman po naming ipinagkakait ang biyaya ng Diyos sa Dinapigue. Kaya po dasal namin na sana sa mas lalong madaling panahon ay maisakatuparan po ang pagmimina doon. Dahil at this point of time, kailangang–kailangan din po ng mga tao doon ang magandang trabaho.”
Lastly, she said that the delegates will be partnering with NAC-DMC to disseminate information about what they have witnessed in Rio Tuba and will help the NAC-DMC to expedite the processing of permits.
“Makakaasa po kayo na tutulong po kami sa pagbabahagi ng mga nakita naming magaganda at mabubuting naidudulot ng mina sa aming mga kababayan. At susuporta po kami at tutulong upang mapabilis ang pagsimula ng operation ng DMC sa Dinapigue,” Mayora Derije expressed.
The group left Rio Tuba with big hopes for DMC to operate soonest and be able to help uplift and improve the life of the people in Dinapigue
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