Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte / May 2013 – TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) employees once again celebrated Labor Day by embarking on a tree planting activity at the company’s mine site in Canatuan, town of Siocon in Zamboanga del Norte. The collective effort comes as an annual manifestation of support to the company’s vigorous environment protection programs.
Some 150 employees, including General Manager Engr. Heliodoro Valmores, trooped to the open pit to plant a target 3,000 Benguet Pine Trees. The area was previously mined for gold and silver – and currently – copper and zinc ores.
“We have seen the company’s sincerity and dedication as a good employer and as a responsible miner. This is the reason why for four years now, we have been doing this tree planting activity to commemorate Labor Day as our token of support for the company’s programs on environment protection and rehabilitation,” said the company’s Labor Management Council (LMC) Chairman, Adolfo Dalman. The LMC serves as the workers’ union and conduit between labor and management.
“We are thankful we belong to the company. Here, we enjoy privileges which surely are not being enjoyed by the rest of the workers in the region,” Dalman informed.
Aside from salaries that are above legal requirements and the industry average, TVIRD employees enjoy free accommodations, clothing and subsidized meals. Scholarships are also granted to some children of employees.
“Our company clinic is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for our employees and their families’ free health and medical services,” said Valmores, explaining TVIRD’s standard employee health services that ensure their well-being.
Among the company’s 953 employees, over one half are Subanon natives and residents of Siocon – its host municipality. Meanwhile, some 10 percent of its employees are women.
“We give equal opportunities to everybody but we give priority to the Subanons and Siocon residents so they will reap the direct benefits of mining,” Valmores concluded.
In 2011, TVIRD was adjudged by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Rotary Club and the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council as the Best Employer in the entire region. The following year, it was conferred the 8th Gawad Kaligtasan at Kalusugan (GKK) and the Safety Milestone awards for its operational excellence in its Canatuan mine site, which has scored over one million man-hours without lost-time accidents in the second half of 2012 alone.
Environment protection and rehabilitation
A total of 3,587 trees were planted across a 1.9-hectare area covering the north-western slope of Mt. Canatuan. Since it began its mining operations in 2004, the company has already planted and grown over 360 thousand trees. Its Mineral Processing Sharing Agreement (MPSA) covers 508 hectares.
“After the Mines Department turned it over to us a few months back, we immediately did some soil conditioning to ensure that whatever we plant will grow,” Environment Department Officer-in-Charge Emma Buyayo reported.
“And out of a total land use of 199 hectares, we have already managed to rehabilitate around 122 hectares,” Buyayo added. “TVIRD has grown 5 times more than the actual number of trees affected by its mining activities. This is purposely to make sure that Canatuan’s bio-diversity is intact and water resources are conserved, “Buyayo said.
Animals like tarsiers, flying lemurs and hornbills can still be seen in the forested areas in Canatuan. Moreover, the host municipality of Siocon continues to be the one of the top rice producing towns in the province where its vast ricelands are irrigated by waters that come from tributaries and watersheds surrounding Canatuan.
On top of its current environment projects, the company has prepared PhP113 million as funds for the ten-year final mine rehabilitation program, which will begin after the conclusion of its mining operations by the end of 2013.
In 2012, TVIRD bested the all the mining companies (open-pit category) in the country when it received the Platinum Award, the highest award for Excellence in Environment Management given by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Mining Industry Environment Awards (PMIEA).