“The most successful people are those who accept and adapt to constant change. This adaptability requires a degree of flexibility and humility most people can’t manage.”

“The most successful people are those who accept and adapt to constant change. This adaptability requires a degree of flexibility and humility most people can’t manage.”


The quote, from the famous Apple engineer Paul Lutus, seem meant exactly for Engr. Nilo Milaor, whose modesty and good-natured persona are as noticeable as his impressive professional background, and remarkable work ethic.

Engr. Milaor, fondly known "Sir Nilo" in the mine site, was born in Luisiana, Laguna, a remote town in the southern Luzon known as Little Baguio of Laguna.

He completed primary and secondary education in the same town. Leads the Corps of Cadets in the CAT during his senior year in high school.

Sir Nilo is the eldest in the family of eight. His father died at a time when he was about to enter college leaving his mother as the only one to support his education.

Because of their financial condition, he worked in the farm during his semestral break to earn for a living and to augment his monthly stipend.

After he finished his study he was able to work immediately, providing assistance for the college education of his brothers and sisters. The siblings helped each other until all were able to finish college, successively.


Immediately after his graduation at the Mapua Institute of Technology in 1982, Sir Nilo started as a contractual employee at the Bureau of Soils (now Bureau of Soils and Water Management), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture. His main responsibility was to evaluate an area recommended for water impounding projects.

A year later, he was hired as Quarry Supervisor by the Philippine Development and Industrial Corporation and in the same year he passed the Licensure Exam in Mining Engineering. He spent one year in the limestone quarry located in San Ildefonso, Bulacan Province.

After his stint as Quarry Supervisor, he joined the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in 1985 and was assigned at the Marine Mineral Resources Division as a Geophysicist, a work that gave him the opportunity to be exposed in the field of marine geophysical surveys using various state-of-the-art geophysical instruments.

During his days in MGB, Engr. Milaor gained a vast array of knowledge, skills, and important insight into the country's mining industry, from shallow marine exploration, mining policy and enforcement, tenement processing, to safety, health and environmental regulatory matters.

He was part of the team onboard a vessel named RPS Explorer exploring the Philippine waters including Leyte Gulf, Lingayen Gulf, Camotes Sea, Bohol Sea and Surigao Strait.

He was a co-presenter of paper entitled “Result of Marine Geophysical Survey Off Northwest Luzon Offshore” presented during the annual Geological Forum.

He was also a recipient of several scholarships and trainings abroad during his term in the MGB such as Processing of Shallow Marine Geophysical Data in Bangkok, Thailand; Mining and Metallurgy Group Training Course in Akita, Japan; and Master in Stone Technology in Verona, Italy.

He earned his Master’s Degree in Environmental Management with a thesis: “Developing a Mining Rehabilitation Strategy in the Philippines: An Assessment for the Proposed Rehabilitation Model in Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan.”

His wide grasp of local mining issues—ranging from technical, legal, and social aspects—had not gone unnoticed, when he was appointed chairman of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) of Romblon for 12 years.

During his term as PMRB Chairman, he was honed to be accustomed in associating with local government officials such as the Governor, Sanggunian Members and Mayors of the Province of Romblon.

While performing his duties and responsibilities in the MGB, he managed also to lead the PMRB with its members from Non Government Organizations, Local Government Units and Miners. This made him more flexible and adaptable to do multi-tasking jobs.

At MGB, meanwhile, he continued to accelerate from his position, becoming Supervising Science Research Specialist in 2006 until he became a Division Chief of the Mining Environment and Safety Division of MGB-Region IVB.

He was then the team leader of the Multi-Partite Monitoring Team that frequently visited Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation, a sister company of CMC.

In 2013, after 28 years of hard work as a public servant, Sir Nilo decided to join the private sector and signed up with Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) where he started as a Corporate Environmental Manager.

The following year, he was tasked to head NAC’s Manicani Nickel Project in Guiuan, Eastern Samar under Hinatuan Mining Corporation.

During his days in Manicani, his mandate was to ship out remaining stockpiles in the island in compliance to the directive of the MGB.

The main reason for the removal of stockpiles was that it posed hazard to the local inhabitants. He was able to ship out five vessels of old stockpiles despite being under pressure from anti-mining groups.


Afterwards, he was assigned as Resident Mine Manager at HMC's Taganaan Nickel Project in Surigao del Norte for almost one year, before finally settling to head NAC's Valencia Nickel Project under Cagdianao Mining Corporation in Dinagat Islands province in 2016.

During his first months at CMC, Sir Nilo had his hand full as it was a time that the company was struggling with the successive departures of several resident mine managers.

He even thought that perhaps was going to be his last journey with NAC because there was a saying that “all RMM assigned at CMC has only six months to one-year term.”

Using his good-old charm and the easy-going disposition that he has been known for in his entire career, Engr. Milaor succeeded in disarming entrenched factionalism and low morale that had been eating up into the company's culture for quite a while.

He made a 180 degree turnaround of CMC’s performance despite having to trek a road that was rough and full of obstacles.

“Out of the eight RMMs of CMC, Sir Nilo stayed in humility for almost three years. He has a soft-toned voice as he mentors his people, he is the best resident mine manager in the CMC history,” said Ms. Aeleen Pearl Caringal, RMM Secretary.

He then launched into creating an environment that values transparency and openness, showing respect and appreciation to everyone’s effort, creating a culture of teamwork that has been at the tone.

“Sir Nilo is very compassionate father in CMC, you will not feel any pressure nor stress as he maintained calm in work, he never scolds us. He is very patient and understanding,” said Christian Gascon- CMC Mine Operations Manager.

According to Sir Nilo, his main objective is “to make change where we can, in all aspects of our mining operations. When there is a problem or quality issues, the leader should capacitate the members to resolve them."

He further says: “CMC’s team members are all responsible people, are all resilient and capable to make positive change and what they really need is motivation – that’s what I did. Whenever I am asked what I have done to CMC, I say, it's getting people who are much better than I am.”

If Nickel Asia is to be known not only as one of the largest nickel producers in the world but an industry stalwart of Responsible Mining, Engr. Milaor believes that affiliates like CMC should lead the change.

"And change is constant, whether we strive to be socially and environmentally responsible, or even in the simple act of treating our coworkers with dignity and respect. We change to improve, to make things better," said Sir Nilo, in his typical self-effacing way.

Sir Nilo is married to Ms. Pat Milaor, a government employee and they have two sons, who are both professionals, the eldest working as a nurse and residing in Australia, while the youngest is a licensed commercial pilot.

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