Barangay captains and councilors from the 30 coastal barangays of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, including Manicani, personally directed their questions about responsible mining to the experts at Cagdianao Mining Corp. (CMC) and Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC), subsidiaries of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC).
A 33-strong delegation traveled all the way from Eastern Samar to the province of Dinagat Islands, where CMC has its operations, and to Surigao del Norte, where HMC operates, for back-to-back comprehensive mine tours.
The mine tour is part of the requirements of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, in preparation for the resumption of the mining operations of HMC’s Manicani Nickel Project (MNP), which is part of the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Guiuan.
HMC-MNP was recently granted the permit by the DENR to resume its mining operations in Manicani.
Being members of PAMB, the barangay captains and kagawads of the coastal barangays expressed particular interest in the details of the environment protection and enhancement programs of the two mining companies.
Most of them have not seen an active mine before and their questions focused on the impact of mining to the environment.
One particular feature of the mines that impressed them was the technology of the series of water chambers that starts in ‘canal curtains’ surrounding the open mine that wind-up in wide settling ponds, plus the silt booms at the exact discharge point before the run-offs enter the body of water surrounding the island. Both CMC and HMC proudly have this system in place, meticulously designed to ensure the protection of marine life and water resources around the mine sites.
“We specifically requested for this mine tour for us to gain the experience that will help us explain to other PAMB members how mining will be done in Manicani and what we have witnessed in CMC and HMC gave us confidence to give our full support to HMC-MNP,” says Barangay Captain Leo Lacaba of Barangay 6, the designated spokesperson for the group.
Rehabilitation and environment enhancement also gathered multiple questions and the showcase of HMC’s mine eco-tourism sites where guests enjoyed tea from herbs growing at the mined-out areas provided adequate answers.
The barangay leaders conveyed satisfaction, some admitting they only fully comprehend what responsible mining is after the mine tours, debunking every misinformation they have harbored all these years.
“I had misgivings about mining, I was one of those who would shut down favorable opinions about responsible mining, but I now admit I was misinformed so I thank NAC for this learning opportunity,” says Nida Sabalbirino, Captain of Barangay 11.