Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTN), Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC), and Graymont (Philippines), Inc., (GPI)—the big three firms with operations based in the Rio Tuba Export Processing Zone—are partnering with DENR in subsidizing the procurement of a P6.4M Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station (CAAQMS) to be established in the mining community of Bataraza in Southern Palawan.
Monitoring air quality especially in a mining community is crucial for an effective air quality management system in order to take necessary corrective actions to reduce air pollution and maintain the health of the air that people breathe.
DENR-EMB MIMAROPA Director Joe Amil M. Salino says, “the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station is capable of monitoring particulate matter of 10 and 2.5 micron particle size. It will also be equipped with data acquisition system and will display real-time results of air quality that will be visible to the public.”
RTN, as a matter of policy, conducts monthly in-house air quality monitoring but the CAAQMS will further strengthen the quality of the mining company’s monitoring system to ensure that the environment and public health are protected from the dangers of air pollution. It is the advanced version of DENR’s Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System (AAQMS), an automatic monitoring system that provides real-time data transmitted to DENR’s air quality network operating center (AQNOC) and is synced into the global real-time air quality index.
Expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2022, the funding support and other relevant technical assistance for the CAAQMS in Rio Tuba, such as the procurement, maintenance, and operational expenses, will be provided by RTN, CBNC, and GPI.
The establishment of the state-of-the-art air monitoring stations in strategic locations across the country is a project of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), the line bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that sets air quality standards and monitors ambient and point-source pollutants. The initiative is under the DENR Adopt-a-CAAQMS Program launched in October 2020 is an effort to expand the Agency’s ambient air quality network and step up the country’s capacity to monitor ambient air quality.
The collaboration with RTN, CBNC, and GPI brings the second CAAQMS to Palawan – the first of which is located in Puerto Princesa – to be situated in the Municipality of Bataraza to monitor ambient air quality in the designated Rio Tuba Special Airshed. \
RTN, CBNC, and GPI believe that the new system will modernize the assessment of current state of ambient air quality in order for the companies to determine suitable programs to achieve total clean and healthy air to breathe for the communities, in the present and the generations to come.
“The Government has been strictly enforcing measures on the mining industry to ensure that it continuously adapt environmentally-sustainable and responsible practices by adhering to environmental laws in the country. Private companies in the country prove that responsible mining can happen and this should be commended,” said Director Salino.