Berong Nickel Corp., a unit of publicly listed DMCI Holdings Inc., on Thursday said it is inching closer towards the completion of the rehabilitation of the Berong mine in Palawan.
The company said it has successfully rehabilitated over 30 hectares of the mine, out of its target of 34 hectares.
“We are fully committed to addressing our impacts on the environment and to our host communities. In our first year, we were able to exceed many of our rehabilitation targets,” Berong Nickel President Tulsi Das C. Reyes said.
In addition, the mine has accelerated its erosion control and soil stabilization efforts by installing 672 coconets, nearly six times its annual target of 116. The company also laid down 1,721 meters of geo-textiles, significantly enhancing the ecological stability of the areas under rehabilitation.
Land preparation, a critical component of the mine rehabilitation process, includes slope benching and soil matting to avoid landslides, promote vegetation growth and create a more hospitable environment for returning wildlife.
In line with its goal to fast-track the final mine rehabilitation of Berong, the company has topped its seedling production and transplantation targets for 2023.
The company produced 214,052 seedlings, more than double its target of 85,000. From this, it was able to plant 81,709 during the first semester.
The Berong mine in Palawan opened in October 2006 and was fully depleted by December 2021. Aside from generating 1,634 direct and indirect jobs, the mining operations yielded 10.3 million wet metric tons of nickel ore and P2.6 billion worth of mining duties, royalties and taxes.
To be conducted over a 6-year period starting June 2022, the Berong final rehabilitation program covers 109 hectares of surface mine, 209 hectares of silt control structures and 25 hectares of stockpile area.
After rehabilitation, the disturbed areas could be used for eco-tourism, agro-forestry and inland fish farming by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, local government units and host communities.
For the first half of 2023, DMCI Mining recorded a net income of P708 million, a 35-percent drop from last year’s P1.09 billion owing to lower selling prices and increased costs from higher shipments, fuel consumption, depreciation, amortization and labor expenses.
“To sustain our growth momentum and offset the impact of our Berong mine depletion, we are looking to open new mines in Zambales,” said Reyes.
DMCI said it is on track to surpass its 2022 nickel ore production and shipments after recording improvements in the first semester.
From January to June, production nearly doubled to 1.12 million wet metric tons (WMT) from 567,000 WMT. The figure is even better than its 2022 full-year output of 1.03 million WMT.
Meanwhile, shipments in the first half reached 1.06 million WMT, equivalent to 73 percent of the total sales volume of 1.45 million WMT in 2022.