Cover Story

PNoy Lauds NAC Affiliates for Responsible Mining

TWO of the affiliates of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) were among the mining firms recognized by President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd in Malacañang for bagging awards in responsible mining.

President Aquino hailed the mining industry’s best practices during the presentation of last year’s Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA) winners that include Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Mining Corporation (CBNC) in Malacañang last January 20.

RTNMC and CBNC romped off with the Presidential awards in their respective categories in the 2015 PMIEA.

RTNMC bagged the Presidential award for its category in addition to the recognition as “Most Improved Safety Performance,” and CBNC for winning the Mineral Processing Category.

Nickel Asia Corporation has a 60 percent stake in RTNMC and a 10 percent stake in CBNC.

Another NAC affiliate firm- Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) also bagged the Best Mining Forest Award under the Metallic Category.

The PMIEA, which was established in 1997 through Executive Order No. 399, recognizes the outstanding commitment of mining companies for exemplar practices in mineral exploration, quarrying operation, surface mining operation, and mineral processing.

President Aquino, together with Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje, handed out the award to RTNMC and CBNC and other awardees in a simple ceremony at Malacañang Palace’s Rizal Hall.

“These companies—namely Silangan Mindanao Mining, SR Metals, OceanaGold, RioTuba Nickel Mining, and Coral Bay Nickel—have performed well in protecting the environment, keeping their operations safe, and helping the communities in which they operate,” he said.

The chief executive said these companies have performed well in protecting the environment, keeping their operations safe, and helping the communities in which they operate.

“Your companies are embodiments of our belief that inclusive growth is the most potent philosophy -- both in business and governance. Fostering good will in the areas that support your success is not only the right thing to do, it also ensures the sustainability of your operations, and secures the future of your firms,” the President told industry leaders.

At the same time, Pres. Aquino vowed that the government will continue working with the mining firms for the common good of the country and of the people.

“Moving forward, our government will continue working with you, in the belief that it is through constant communication and cooperation that we will give rise to industries that are truly sustainable, inclusive, and profitable,” he added.

He also cited the implementation of Executive Order No. 79, which mandates a more equitable revenue sharing scheme, and helps ensure transparency and accountability in mining.

“In 2014, we also completed the go and no-go zone maps that indicate areas where mining is prohibited, such as prime agricultural lands and tourism development areas,” he said.

President Aquino also expressed his gratitude to the mining companies for their cooperation and participation in government programs to minimize the impact of industry on the environment, particularly the forests.

“I also wish to extend my gratitude to your companies for your cooperation with, and perhaps also you participation in, the many programs we have undertaken to minimize the impact of industry on our environment—particularly on our forests,” he said.

Some of these measures, he said, are the implementation of the Nationwide Anti-Illegal Logging Campaign and the National Greening Program.

Launched in 2011, Pres. Aquino said the Nationwide Anti-Illegal Logging Campaign reduced the number of illegal logging hotspots from 197 to just 23.

“We have confiscated 32.66 million board-feet of illegally cut and processed logs, and have used them to repair school buildings and construct school seats,” he said.

While the implementation of the National Greening Program, he added, is on track to reach its goal to plant 1.5 billion seedlings in 1.5 million hectares around the country by this year..

President Aquino also urged the mining companies to continue and improve their work to make the industry sustainable.

“If we can continue our shared efforts to ensure the sustainability of mining, then I believe we will certainly reach its full potential in the Philippines sooner rather than later,” he said.

The President was also surprised when he found out that the copper concentrate requirement of the country is being imported in Chile.

“For instance, I remember finding out how much of the copper concentrate required by our copper melters is actually imported from Chile, which I found strange,” he said.

He added: “The Philippines, after all, is one of the most abundant countries in terms of copper reserves. How is it possible that it is cheaper, or more efficient, for our companies to ship copper across the Pacific, as opposed to sourcing it here? This is just one indicator of how much better we can get in terms of extraction.”

The Chief Executive also urged mining firms that the growth in the mining industry is also being felt by majority of Filipino people.

“Meeting all of you today, however, fills me with optimism that we are getting better—both at making the most of our resources, and at making sure your growth is felt by the vast majority of Filipino people,” he added.

The President added: “Thus, even as we recognize your efforts today, I encourage you all to continue and improve your good work, and to continue your fruitful engagement with your communities and the government.”

The PMIEA was established by Executive Order no. 399, signed by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 3, 1997, to recognize “outstanding levels of dedication, initiative and innovation in the pursuit of excellence in environmental management by exploration, mining and other related entities involved in various aspects of mineral utilization.”

To win recognition, mining companies are evaluated for their programs and projects dedicated to environmental protection, the enhancement of mining areas, the development of host communities, land use improvement and mine site rehabilitation and final decommissioning.

In effect the award recognizes efforts of the mining industry in areas where they are most criticized by anti-mining advocates.

The Presidential Award is offered in six categories: Mineral Exploration, Quarry Operation, Surface Mining Operation, Underground Mining Operation, Mineral Processing, and Research and Development.

Since the awards were established in 1997, RTNMC has won the Presidential Award on two previous occasions (2002 and 2003).

It received the Platinum award in 2010, 2001, 2000 and 1999 in which years no surface mining operation qualified for the Presidential award; and the Titanium award in 1998 and 2009. RTN also received a Platinum award in 2013 for its quarry operations.

CBNC on the other hand bagged the Presidential Award for the Mineral Processing Category in 2014; it bagged the Platinum award in 2010 and 2008 when there were no Presidential awardees; and the Titanium award in 2012, 2011 and 2009 also years where no one qualified for the Presidential award.

Other NAC subsidiairies that have received recognition under the PMIEA are Cagdianao Mining Corporation (CMC), Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) and Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC).

TMC was a Presidential Awardee in 2004 and 2008; it bagged the Platinum Award in 2009 and 1999, and the Titanium Award in 2007 when there were no Presidential or Platinum Awardees.

CMC bagged the Platinum Award (together with RTN) in 2010 when there was no Presidential awardee; again in 2009 (with TMC) and 2008, 2004 and 2002. It took home the Titanium Award in the years 2005, 2006 and 2007, years when there were no Presidential or Platinum awardees.

HMC was awarded a Titanium Award in 2000, a year when there was no Presidential Awardee.

Share this article