THE Masbate Gold Project (MGP) has left a good impression on Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu during his mine visit to Aroroy town, the company’s mine site.
In a statement, the MGP said Cimatu himself quipped that its mine site “is the best site I have seen.”
Cimatu was invited to open the annual Rodeo Festival in Masbate province and took the opportunity to visit the MGP which is operating in Aroroy town, an hour and a half away by land transportation from Masbate City.
Prior to the mine tour, Filminera Resources Corp. (Filminera) Vice President for Operations Sulpicio Bernardo III presented the project profile and Philippines Gold Processing and Refining Corp. (PGPRC) President Ray Mead presented MGP’s environmental compliance and initiatives.
MGP is jointly operated by Filminera and PGPRC.
Filminera is the holder of the Environmental Compliance Certificate, the mining tenements, surface rights and the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), while PGPRC, a B2Gold company, is the holder of a mineral-processing permit and owns and operates the processing plant.
During the environmental presentation, Cimatu noted the coral-reef rehab project and the progressive and temporary rehabilitation efforts of MGP.
“Maybe we can use that [reefball] technology in the rehab of Boracay,” Cimatu was quoted as saying during the presentation.
MGP’s coral-rehabilitation project seeks to restore the coral-reef cover in Port Barrera that has been severely damaged by dynamite fishing, cyanide fishing, and overfishing using unsustainable methods.
Through the installation of reefballs that has been shaped with biological uses in mind and engineered to stand up to the forces of nature, the rehabilitation work will mitigate the loss of coral reef within the marine-protected area and enhance natural reef as it recovers. Moreover, it is anticipated to provide habitat for surrounding fish stocks, enabling them to recover while providing alternative sources of livelihood through the restoration process and the active management of the area.
After the presentation, Cimatu and party, including DENR Undersecretary Ernesto D. Adobo Jr., inspected the rehabilitated areas and active mine pits.
“You can see that the mining operation is well-planned and well-engineered. I believe your mine shows how you are as a company,” he added.
This was in reference to Masbate Gold Project’s technically being a Hard Rock terrace or bench-type mine as differentiated from the “Open Pit Mining Method” (surface or strip-mining practice) employed by other mine sites around the country.
Gloria Tan Climaco, Filminera chairman, said the MGP will continue to do its best to maintain its standards of safety, community development and environmental protection, “so that we can continue to be the ‘best mine site’ and serve as a model to other companies in terms of environmental protection and preservation,” she said.
“We are sincere in fulfilling our commitment to creating a sustainable environment for the impact barangays that surround us, while bringing economic development to Aroroy,” she added.
MGP is the single largest investment in the municipality of Aroroy. The project has helped catapult the town from a fourth-class municipality to first class through the provision of employment opportunities to the community residents, taxes paid to local and national government, the social development and management program and environmental conservation efforts.
Ray Mead, PGPRC president, said it is good the environment secretary toured the mine site, and possibly apply reefball technology in use at MGP for the rehabilitation efforts for Boracay.
“In showing the technology to the DENR secretary, we are glad to have given him a model for coastal-resource management,” he added.
MGP’s coral-reef rehabilitation started in December 2017 when they installed 125 reefballs and rescued and propagated over 1,200 corals. This program is being greatly expanded through 2018. It is anticipated that more than 600 additional reefballs and potentially 10,000 corals will be propagated in 2018 alone. Through MGP’s in-house marine expertise, the project has maintained over 80-percent survival rate of rescued corals planted to date.