The awarding of the prestigious Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA) to two mining companies under the umbrella of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), is regarded as doubly special as it was conferred during the pandemic year.
Cagdianao Mining Corp. (CMC), based in Valencia, in Dinagat Islands, and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. (RTNMC), based in Bataraza in Palawan, are this year’s proud PMIEA honorees presented with the “Presidential trophy” for outstanding initiatives in the pursuit of excellence in environmental management. CMC and RTNMC are subsidiaries of NAC, the country’s largest nickel supplier.
According to the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB), an agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the award is given to operating mines that have shown exemplary performance in the area of environmental enhancement and protection; safety and health; social development; and corporate social responsibility.
“The award for 2020 is made more significant because of the unprecedented challenges posted by COVID-19. Our employees had to exert double efforts and had to sacrifice personal time in order to achieve our goals, to ensure 100 percent implementation of our commitments to all our stakeholders in the mining communities” explains Engr. Arnilo C. Milaor, Resident Mine Manager at CMC.
This is a back-to-back win for the Dinagat-based mining company which also collected the Presidential Award last year.
Cagdinao Mining’s commitment is to the tune of P55.5 Million pesos worth of Annual Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (AEPEP) and P47.3 Million pesos for the development of CMC’s host and neighboring communities through the company’s Social Development Management Programs (SDMP) for 2020 alone.
“The improved living conditions in the mining areas are proof of our commitment to the communities. One outstanding CMC project for example is the 19.2-kilometer farm-to-market road worth P12 Million pesos, connecting 5 barangays from 2 municipalities to the main provincial road, effectively providing the residents access to basic services like the hospital, and, most importantly, efficient access to trade and commerce,” says Engr. Aloysius C. Diaz, NAC VP for Operations.
Rio Tuba Nickel, which has won this most-coveted “Presidential Award” for 4 times – 2002, 2015, 2018, and 2020 – never stopped operations and continuously implemented essential programs on environment protection, community development, and safety and health, despite the pandemic and expended a whopping P66.5 Million pesos for AEPEP and P36.2 Million pesos for SDMP in 2020.
“With strict enforcement of preventive measures against COVID-19 to protect employees and our host communities, we did not have work stoppage with no recorded-case of infection within the mine site, and, most significantly, we did not lay-off any worker” shares Engr. Cynthia E. Rosero, RTN’s Resident Mine Manager.
According to Environmental Planner, Janice M. Tupas, Manager of the Mines Environmental Protection and Enhancement Dept. (MEPED) of RTN, the PMIEA scoring is 50% environmental management; 20% safety and health; 20% implementation of SDMP; and 10% for information and education campaign or IEC.
“The qualifiers or applicants for the PMIEA must achieve a final rating of more than 95%. There are significant points also for ‘no unresolved notice of violations’; ‘compliance to operational and legal obligations’, and ‘no fatal work-related accidents’,” Tupas explains.
Executive Order 399 issued in 1997, which established the PMIEA, states that the award is to recognize “outstanding levels of dedication, initiative, and innovation in various aspects of operations in the country’s minerals sector.”