Sta. Rita and Agcaoili, Aug. 25, 2014

Philex Mining, NPC agree to reforest watershed area in Itogon

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Proposed refo program involves 500 hectares at San Roque Dam

Philex Mining Corp. and the National Power Corp. have agreed to sit down and identify parts of the land at the NPC-controlled watershed area that the miner•€™s Padcal operations, in Benguet, will have to reforest over five years.  

This develops following yesterday•€™s visit of NPC President Gladys Sta. Rita to Padcal mine, which is hosted by the municipalities of Tuba and Itogon, where she asked Philex Mining officials if the gold-and-copper miner could reforest at least 100 hectares within the year.  

€œWe have agreed to meet again and identify the areas that are going to be reforested under a program that we have proposed to them earlier,•€ Manuel Agcaoili, SVP at Philex Mining and resident manager of Padcal operations, said.  

The reforestation program covers 500 hectares of San Roque Dam•€™s critical watershed area near Padcal mine•€™s Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 (TSF), in Itogon, which has undergone immediate remediation measures after the Aug. 1, 2012 tailings-leak accident following historically unprecedented rains brought about by two successive typhoons.   

NPC now owns the San Roque Dam, operated under the San Roque Multipurpose Project, which was done by the San Roque Power Corp. under a power-purchase agreement with the state-run corporation.  

Created early last year as part of Philex Mining•€™s preparation to intensify its reforestation effort in Itogon, the proposed tree planting activity must be approved by and carried out in cooperation with the NPC, according to the manager of Padcal•€™s Community Relations (ComRel) Department, Feliciano Diso, Jr.  

Padcal•€™s Environment Quality Monitoring and Enhancement Department (EQMED) said the company would hire seasonal workers from the outlying communities•€”host and neighboring villages•€”for the project.  

Part of Philex Mining•€™s CSR, or corporate social responsibility, Program, the environmental endeavor also involves the planting of forest and fruit-bearing trees, and targets 100 hectares every year starting from 2014, or until 2021 to include the three-year maintenance period.  

The EQMED also said that it takes three years to reforest 100 hectares, with some parts of the maintenance phase of the preceding batch overlapping with the planting and maintenance of the succeeding one, and so on.  

Padcal mine has won a number of awards for its reforestation program, 10 of which were granted by the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA), and reforested about 2,500 hectares of land with over 8 million trees across Itogon and Tuba.