The Rio Tuba Nickel and Mining Corporation (RTNMC) is set to rehabilitate around 42 hectares that have been disturbed by its mine excavation activities.
Carmelita Catacutan, RTN Mine Environmental Protection and Enhancement Officer, said the “progressive rehabilitation” of the excavated areas will occur even while the company is still in operation.
“Kapag sinabing mined-out na siya [soil] then we do the rehabilitation. Hindi na natin hihintayin na magclose ang minahan bago i-rehab, kaya kahit operating ang company may makikita ka nang narehab na,” she said.
Mine rehabilitation’s major activity is the planting of indigenous trees such as narra and nato. Catacutan further explained that they normally conduct planting between June to September.
She said their objective in the succeeding years is to plant native species which will propagate and collect from the forest, called as wildlings.
“Yon ang ating direction kasi later on hindi na lang siya rehabilitation kundi restoration na dahil gusto natin mabalik ‘yong original forest,” Catacutan said.
Each person is allowed to plant up to ten trees with a total of 500 trees per hectares.
Meanwhile, Catacutan said that they will also undertake a regreening activity on about seven hectares within the mine site.
Regreening is also a tree planting activity in an open areas that temporarily not subject for mine excavation.
“It is an open area na hindi pa nagagalaw or pwede pang balikan. Since ayaw naman namin na nakatiwangwang lang siya ganito ang ginagawa ng company kaysa sa arial view ay red na red ang makikita mo dahil sa characteristic ng soil,” she said.
Catacutan said that the regreening and rehabilitation is a annual activity of the company with a specific target land area.
In order to participate in their activity, requesting parties or companies who want to join only need to send a communication letter to the RTNMC for them to be included in seed distribution.
Last year, she said they have accomplished 35 hectares planted. In addition, as of 2017 they have already rehabilitated around 122.78 hectares in mine site since rehabilitation started.
Catacutan added, later on when the mine closes they will also be having a final mine deep commissioning and rehabilitation program being funded while they are still operating.
“Parang nagdedeposit tayo ng fund that later on will use sa program,” she said.
According to law, all mining company is mandated to conduct mine rehabilitation to restore the same made by excavation.
The government has awarded 990 hectares to RTNMC for the mining activity within 25 years.