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Nickel industry ups reforestation efforts with 5.3M trees

The Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), through its seven member-companies, has once again boosted greening efforts as part of ongoing rehabilitation and reforestation in their respective mining areas.

Ensuring environmental and ecological sustainability in areas where nickel is mined, members of the nickel industry have planted an estimated 5.3 million trees to date in the Caraga region and in Palawan as part of its Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP).

The number of trees planted has risen 27 percent since PNIA’s report of planting 4.2 million trees in June 2018.

“The nickel-mining industry has real and continuing accomplishments in caring not only for our communities, but also for the environment. We contribute at least 3 percent to 5 percent of our operating cost to [EPEP] programs. No other industry is mandated to do this,” said PNIA Executive Director Charmaine Olea-Capili.

On top of current reforestation efforts, mining companies are mandated to implement the Temporary Revegetation Program (TRP).

PNIA member-companies have planted over 284 hectares of various vegetation and have spent P45 million.

“We are required to plant 100 trees for every one tree we cut down. Our industry has made continued efforts to rehabilitate the areas where we mine since we started operations. With the ongoing TRP, we can provide short-term vegetation growth that can control soil erosion and assist communities during natural calamities,” Capili added.

Indigenous and endemic tree and grass species have been successfully planted since the start of rehabilitation efforts. These include fruit-bearing trees and cash crops, among others.

Furthermore, PNIA’s bamboo reforestation also serves as a strategic complement to ongoing reforestation and rehabilitation programs. To date, more than 22,000 seedlings have been planted by PNIA member-companies.

The nickel companies’ reforestation and revegetation programs not only facilitates ecological rehabilitation of mined-out areas. It also provides employment to residents and to the indigenous community. It also creates livelihood programs that are vital to strengthening the local economy.

These projects range from sponsoring backyard nursery projects; to plantations of coffee, rubber, cacao and bamboo; and even to the development of areas for productive use.

These activities also allow the companies to help their respective host communities as seedlings can be donated to the community in support of various greening initiatives.

Companies also regularly distribute seedlings and fertilizers to farmers in the community to increase their crop production and yield.

These continued efforts demonstrate PNIA members’ commitment and contributions to the government’s “Enhanced National Greening Program,” which targets the reforestation of 1.2 million hectares between 2017-2022. 

Moreover, PNIA members also focus on other environmental preservation programs, such as biodiversity marine protection programs, mangrove plantations, coral transplantation, fish production and other activities that improve the environment.

Organized in 2012 as nonstick, nonprofit organization, the PNIA seven nickel mamber mining companies, are Platinum Group Metals Corp., CTP Construction and Mining Corp., Citinickel Mines and Development Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corp., DMCI Mining Corp., Marcventures Mining and Development Corp., and Agata Mining Ventures Inc.

Recently, it included 13 contractors providing ancillary services as new members.

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