MDARRC Visits Mining Sites in Surigao del Norte, Widens its Scope in Rehabilitation of Mined-Out Areas

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As part of the Mining and Degraded Areas Rehabilitation Research Center’s (MDARRC) initiative to widen its scope and to capacitate its technical personnel in the project implementation which focuses on the generation and transfer of technologies to rehabilitate mined-out and degraded areas, the Center visited three mining sites in Claver, Surigao del Norte on July 18-22, 2017. The activity was also in accordance with the Center’s effort to provide first-hand observation of the mining sites and know the current condition of the mining environment that will serve as inputs in developing appropriate Research, Development and Extension (RDE) activities and proposals for mined-out areas.

Twenty-two MDARRC technical personnel and support staff toured the mining sites of Adnama Mining Resources, Incorporated (AMRI) in Brgy. Urbiztondo, Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC) in Brgy. Cagdianao, and the Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) in Brgy. Taganito.

The three mining companies employ surface mining method to extract lateritic nickel ore that make large portions of soil surface bare and open. Such mining operation creates ground disturbance that results to sedimentation and erosion which leads to siltation of adjacent Kinalablaban Bay.

As part of their restoration efforts, the three mining companies employ different rehabilitation strategies as stipulated in their Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP). Some of their environmental management approaches include planting of Acacia mangium, agoho (Casuarina equisetifolia Linn.) and mankono (Xanthostemon verdugonianus) at the mined-out areas as these species are proven to be tolerant to low fertility soils and planting of grasses such as carabao grass (Paspalum conjugatum) as these are tolerant to lateritic conditions to aid in controlling soil erosion. In addition, coco coir net is being utilized in disturbed steep slopes to prevent run-off and erosion from heavy rains. However, it was observed that rehabilitation efforts of the visited companies are not intensified.

Aside from the mining companies’ progressive restoration efforts in the disturbed mining areas, MDARRC identified some areas for collaboration through provision of RDE interventions. These include developing science-based rehabilitation strategies that are best suited for the area. Furthermore, the Center presented its RDE program on the rehabilitation of mined-out areas which focuses on the physical, biological and social aspects.

Before the mine tour, MDARRC personnel paid a visit at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) – CARAGA Region in Surigao City and had a meeting with its Regional Director, Engr. Roger A. De Dios. During the meeting, Ms. Eva C. Bautista, MDARRC RDE Unit Chief, introduced the Center and presented its on-going and proposed projects in line with the Center’s area of excellence.

RD De Dios thanked MDARRC for visiting Surigao del Norte and considering the mining companies in the province for possible collaboration in research undertakings. He expressed his utmost support in the Center’s desire to help mining companies come up with appropriate technologies and strategies in their rehabilitation initiatives.

Likewise, MDARRC Center Head Alma S. Uddin, who led the group, also visited the office of Governor Sol F. Matugas of Surigao del Norte for a courtesy call and meeting. Forester Uddin presented the mine visit’s agenda and mentioned the MDARRC initiatives that could possibly be applied to the mining companies the group will be visiting.

Governor Matugas was delighted to know of the Center’s plan to provide technical assistance to mining companies in their efforts to rehabilitate their mined-out areas. She even offered an office inside the Coastal Resource Management and Tourism Center in Brgy. Hayanggabon in Claver to MDARRC to be the Center’s sub-station in CARAGA Region.

In her message during the exit conference, For. Uddin thanked the mining companies for accommodating and allowing the group to visit the mining sites. “Through the mine visit, we were able to familiarize ourselves with the mining operations and the rehabilitation initiatives of the mining companies. As such, we are now equipped to perform the mandate as the research arm of the DENR to rehabilitate the mined-out and degraded areas,” For. Uddin said. “I am looking forward to our collaboration to accomplish our common goal which is to rehabilitate mined-out areas through coming up with feasible and workable rehabilitation initiatives,” she added.

It can be recalled that MDARRC also visited the mining sites of Holcim Mining and Development Corporation and the Apex Mining Company in Davao Region in April and the Philex Mining Corporation in Sibutad, Zamboanga del Norte in May of this year. Research proposals on mined-out areas rehabilitation for possible implementation were already submitted for review of the mining companies. Jethrone M. Setenta, MDARRC

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