Listed natural resources development firm Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), through its subsidiaries Rio Tuba Nickel Mining (RTN) and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC), recently inaugurated a P42-million Safety and Skill Training Center in Barangay Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan – the first of its kind in the province and in the entire local mining industry.
The Center, financed through the combined Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds of RTN and CBNC, is part of the company’s commitment to creating a sustainable future for its mining communities.
The newly-minted Safety and Skills Training Center is also a response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UNSDGs) of “ensuring health and safety in the workplace” (#12); and to “ensure inclusive and equitable education and lifelong opportunities for all” (#4).
“Safety is a way of life,” said Engr. Glenn N. Noble, regional director for the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-MIMAROPA, during the inauguration.
Noble lauded the opening of the Center, underscoring RTN and CBNC’s responsibilities to make the communities sustainable and self-reliant through their respective SDMPs – a five-year plan used as a tool for the implementation of development programs in the mining communities that MGB approves, endorses, and monitors.
Under the SDMP, at least 1.5 percent of a company’s total mining and milling costs must be monetized for the development of the mining communities.
Of the amount, 75 percent must be spent on community development programs; 15 percent on mining technology and geosciences advancement programs; and 10 percent on information, education, and communication programs.
Reynaldo “Bong” dela Rosa, NAC Community Relations Group Manager, said the new Center is a show of commitment to the mining communities – an instrument that will foster integral human transformation, contribute to poverty alleviation, and help develop entrepreneurial skills that can guide people to a sustainable future.
Dela Rosa also emphasized that “essentially, safety and skills development and the fundamentals of the concept of sustainability are of the same objective – protecting and managing resources, our human workforce.”
“We cannot claim to be a sustainable organization if we do not take to heart the protection of the health and safety of our employees,” he added.
Engr. Ronel Suguitan, Resident Mine Manager for RTN, shared that the town of Bataraza is set to forge a partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the job-preparatory skills training that will be offered at the Center.
Suguitan explained that the Center will also be maximized for manpower pooling, regularly training residents to be highly-qualified for local, domestic, and overseas employment.