Canatuan, Zamboanga de Norte / February 2013 – Public school teachers and local government workers in the adjacent Kabasalan and Diplahan towns that comprise Sibugay province are convinced by responsible mineral development practices during a recent mine tour the TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) mine site in Canatuan, Zamboanga del Norte. The company’s concept and practice of Responsible Mining provided an eye-opener for the tour participants as it showcased its copper-zinc operations as well as environmental protection and management practices.
“False beliefs about large-scale mining made me an anti-mining advocate. And now I realize that there is no truth that large-scale mining operations are destructive to the environment. Instead, it is the illegal miners that destroy the environment by not providing proper waste disposal,” said Claudette Sadmon, a teacher of Diplahan National High School (DNHS), during the exit conference at the end of the one-day tour.
World-class tailings dam, environmental initiatives
Sadmon and her group set foot at the crest of the enormous mines tailings impoundment dam, which took the company five years and nearly Php1.0 billion to build in order to prevent harmful wastes from contaminating the vast rice lands of Siocon below. It is designed and built to withstand a tremendous amount of rainfall and seismic activity to safeguard the environment.
The group was also escorted to the reforestation area where the company planted and grew more than 360 thousand trees since its pre-operation period – replacing over five (5) times the number of trees affected by its mining operations.
Sadmon was one of 15 Diplahan government teachers who came along with Local Government officials of Kabasalan in the one-day mine tour.
Diplahan and Kabasalan are located next to the town of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur where the company’s Balabag gold-silver project is located. TVIRD’s mining operations will mirror the Canatuan project, the management assured the visitors. The company is set to commence its operations once it has the go-signal from the government through the issuance of an Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC).
Transparency convinces critics
“To see is to believe,” said Miladel Capitania, agriculture technician from the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist. She expressed her gratitude to the company in opening its doors to other critics to see the truth about the practices of responsible mining.
Capitania also works for a church-backed Non-Government Organization and was also popularly known in the community as an anti-large scale mining advocate.
“We have seen with our own eyes how a mining company like TVIRD operates responsibly in the process of doing their business,” the participants concluded. “We can’t wait for them to operate in Bayog where we can also benefit as the neighboring town,” Capitania added.
Through its open-door policy, the company has regularly held mine tours in its mine site facilities for interested groups who wish to see its operations. Every tour is capped with an exit conference and debriefing where the visitors meet the management team and have the chance to ask questions, give suggestions or give comments on what they have seen.