Region IVB consists of the provinces of Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan tagged as MIMAROPA.
Relative to mining activities, Palawan is host to four large-scale mining companies such as Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp, Coral Bay Nickel Corp, Berong Nickel Corp, and Citinickel Mines Development Corp wherein MGB IVB exercises full jurisdiction while providing necessary assistance to the rest of the provinces which cater to small-scale mining of gold, chromite, nickel, and copper, along with quarry operations.
Working on their vision as the prime mover for clearer understanding and wider acceptance of the mining and minerals industry in the MIMAROPA Region, the MIMAROPA Mines for Real Progress (MM4RP) conducted its first Fundamentals of Responsible Minerals Development (FRMD) Seminar before the clergies of the Diocese of Boac at the Boac Cathedral on June 9, 2014.
The province of Marinduque was prioritized by the MM4RP with the fact that anti-mining sentiments is strongest in the area and continue to thrive as a result of the Marcopper disaster in 1996.
The presentation on the seminar overview rendered by Intex Resources (Phils) Vice President for Communications and MM4RP President Rocky Dimaculangan provided the history of mining, its benefits, worldwide experiences and its perspective in the country. Mr. Ramon Santos, Vice President for Mining Operations of MacroAsia Corporation, meanwhile, discussed the technical aspect of mining, specifically minerals formation and methods involved in minerals extraction. The focal point of this activity, however, is the presentation on government regulations as mandated by mining laws and being carried out by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau which MIMAROPA Regional Director Roland A. De Jesus expounded on. Also underscored in his presentation were the best practices in Palawan mining and the huge amount of taxes, royalties and social development funds that mining communities of all four large scale operations take pleasure in – a testimony that progress is realized through regulated mining.
Coral Bay Nickel Corporation’s Vice President for Environment and External Affairs, Arturo Manto, as well shared his company’s experiences of allocating and implementing billions worth of environmental, safety and social programs as a means of their compliance to mining laws. He also emphasized on MM4RP’s effort to make known in the whole region that responsible mining is indeed being practiced in Palawan. Its fruits are local progress that people in their community enjoy and the credibility that their company is known for.
The audience comprised of 28 priests actively took part during the open forum and were most concerned about the plight of Marinduqueños given the 18-year old Marcopper catastrophe which remains unresolved. Reluctance to any mining activity was immensely conveyed, yet reforms on mining laws and policies are for them a welcome endeavor. The church leaders, nonetheless, demanded from the government concrete actions that would start mending the wounds brought about by the Marcopper incidence that throb even now. RD De Jesus, speaking for the Bureau, ascertained that with the implementation of Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 strengthened by the directives under Executive Order No. 79 which both speak of more stringent rules governing mining operations and barring imprudent acts of mining, a new dawn in the mining industry will soon set off.
The MM4RP, a 10-company organization joined by Affluere Minerals Corporation, Berong Nickel Corporation, Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation,Coral Bay Nickel Corporation, First State Mining Resources, Intex Resources (Philippines) Incorporated, MacroAsia Corporation, Phil-China Mining Trade Promotions Group, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation, and Unichamp Mineral Philippines Incorporated with advisory from the MGB-MIMAROPA, was established in May 2013 to carry out various information, education and communications activities that are essential to gain social acceptance of the new era of the mining industry in the MIMAROPA region.
Four Geology students from the Partido State University in Camarines Sur undertakes thorough training under the MGB-MIMAROPA’s Geosciences Division.
Dr. Edwin Mojares, the Division’s OIC formally welcomed the apprentices in an orientation session held early this month to commence their 240-hour training which is also being conducted as part of the Regional Office’s Youth Program.
Starting April 2, the trainees have gone through a series of lectures and tutorials before partaking in the Basic Training Course on Arcview 10, held last April 8, 10 & 11, as a tool for digital map preparation/generation as one of their required outputs towards the end of the training. Dr. Mojares disclosed the detailed activities lined-up for the duration of the on-job training as follows:
Week 1: Introduction to ArcMap/ArcView
Week 2: Lecture on Geology and Mineral Resources of MIMAROPA Provinces
Review on Geology and Mineral Resources of MIMAROPA Provinces
Lecture on Geohazard Mapping Procedures
Review of Geohazard Field Mapping and Assessment of MIMAROPA Provinces
Lecture on Map Reading/Interpretation
Week 3: Field Work in Selected Areas in Oriental Mindoro Province
·Geohazard Mapping (Mainly 1:10,000 m scale Landslide and Flooding Assessment)
· Basic Geological Mapping
· Mineral Resource Assessment and Investigation
Week 4: Plotting of Geological/Geohazard Field Data, Compilation and Interpretation of Field Data
Report Writing and Digital Map Generation
Week 5: Continuation of ArcMap (Familiarization with other basic techniques)
Review of Geology and Mineral Resources of Marinduque Province
Review of Geohazard Mapping/Assessment of Marinduque Province
Review of Hydrology and Groundwater Assessment of Marinduque Province
Week 7: Fieldwork in Marinduque Province
Week 8: Report Writing
Digital Map Preparatiom/Generation
Submission and Presentation of Field Report
Week 9: Preparation and Submission of Final OJT Report
On this present undertaking, MGB-MIMAROPA Chief, RD Roland De Jesus, shown eagerness to create awareness and make the trainees experience how geohazard maps are being prepared and put to use being one of the priorities of the incumbent administration. Moreover, he considers this as a means to let these future professionals define their worth and would-be societal contributions.
RD De Jesus has been living out the custom of providing extensive training to students in practicum believing that they need widespread exposure and practice in their chosen fields to complement classroom activities and to stimulate positive outlook in their prospective engagements.
Envisioning a sturdy team that can well deliver the mandates of the MGB-MIMAROPA Regional Office, Regional Director Roland A. De Jesus caused the preparation of a year-round in-house trainings that will capacitate all personnel in both office works and field activities.
As part of the Human Resource intervention for capability building of its manpower, RD De Jesus had lined up various trainings using in-house trainers in the field of business correspondence and technical writing, maps generation, and other technical tools that will stir the creativity of the MGB-MIMAROPA employees. The training schedule include the conduct of a Basic Training Course on Arcview 10 (Desktop GIS Software Program) which aims at developing map generating know-how among technical personnel which was held last April 8, 10 & 11. According to the RD, he sees this as an opportunity for the field personnel to come up with creative documentations of their field monitoring and validation. The training which was participated in, not only by the Regional Office personnel, but the Geology student trainees as well being part of the activities under the Youth Program, was facilitated by Mr. Ging Peña, a contractual staff of the Geosciences Division.
Prior to this, a quick tutorial on GeoTagging was conducted on March 24 by Mr. Allen Ablang of the DENR-FMS IV-B which is now being employed in the NGP and rehabilitation area monitoring.
Next to Arcview is a Tutorial on Map Info, a commercially available Geographical Information Systems software package which allows the user to import geographically referenced data and to create thematic maps of different variable using the familiar Windows Icons Menus Pointer (WIMP) Graphical User Interface (GUI). This technology, the RD enthused, would help create useful database that will aid as reference in the monitoring activities. The training which will be handled by Engr. Elmer Crisologo of the Mine Management Division is set on May 21-23.
Other upcoming trainings include English Proficiency Training/Workshop for Business and Technical Writing, Presentation Skills Training, Gemcom Software Training, and Government Procurement Training for the Bids and Awards Committee and Procurement and Supply Management personnel. Also opted for is the attendance of selected technical personnel in First Aid Trainings and Safety Trainings on Loss Control Management and Other Safety and Environment Seminar which can be provided by the Safety Organization of the Philippines Incorporated (SOPHI).
With all these technology and skills transfer activities lined-up, RD De Jesus ascertains that MGB-MIMAROPA not only upholds responsible mining, but promotes as well a culture of well-rounded and competitive human resources.
For an enhanced documentation system for monitoring, validation and assessments being carried out by its technical divisions, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-MIMAROPA embarked on a GeoTagging Workshop conducted on March 24, 2014 at the MGB IV-B Conference Room.
RD Roland De Jesus views this as a tool to improve the existing monitoring system and generate real time field findings as supported by geographical identification meta data to photos and videos obtained during MMT and SHES monitoring as well as in the lands survey, geohazard assessment and mapping activities and validation of NGP accomplishments using android phones.
Resource Person Allen Ablang of the Forest Management Sector of DENR-MIMAROPA provided a quick coaching, from downloading to actual application use, which was easily grasped by technical personnel attendees from the Mine Environment and Safety; Mine Management; and Geosciences Divisions of the Office.
This initiative also serves as MGB-MIMAROPA’s response to the call of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to particularly fast track and make more efficient the conduct of NGP validation using the technology.
Aimed as a convergence of MGB geologists and chemists, the 2014 MGB Geosciences Workshop was held in Tagbilaran, Bohol on February 3 -7, 2014 as a venue for the presentation and review of outputs of the National Geohazard Assessment and Mapping Program and other geo-science related activities of the Bureau.
The workshop was structured into three sessions. Session 1 was devoted for the setting of directions of the NGPP, Session 2 provided for the Review of 2013 Accomplishments, and Session 3 as the avenue for technical presentation which featured papers of three expert geologists. Discussions were as well stimulated in between sessions guided by rapporteurs/ moderators.
The five-day workshop culminated in a whole day tour which enabled the participants to get acquainted with the ground impacts of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that ravaged the Bohol province on October 15 last year.
The workshop was participated in by all geologists and chemists of the Lands Geological Survey Division and Marine Geological Survey Division of the MGB Central Office and Regional Offices Geosciences Divisions. Also in attendance were the Chiefs of the Planning and Policy, Finance and Administrative Divisions of the MGB Central Office who provided inputs during the planning, financial and capacity building and human resource development programs and strategic directions of the MGB. Personnel from the Geological Database and information System Section of the Lands Geological Survey Division provided the secretariat and technical support to the said workshop.
MGB OIC-Assistant Director Dr. Elmer B. Billedo spoke for the Bureau during his opening remarks while Dr. Sevillo David, MGB-CO Geosciences Division Chief done the formal closing of the event.
To strengthen the regular monitoring of Marcopper Mines and consistent with the provisions of Executive Order No. 79 relevant to the rehabilitation of inactive/abandoned mines, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-MIMAROPA commences the Hydrology Study to determine the impact of Marcopper on the surface waters of the Boac and Mogpog Rivers watersheds which is being undertaken by a third party specialist.
Late last year, the Office conducted its bidding for the consulting service to assume the commission which was eventually awarded to Lichel Technologies, Inc. The project has been recommended for implementation to provide information and tools to support decisions related to management and remediation of ground and surface waters affected by the Marcopper incident. The more specific objective is to determine the impacts of mine-related contaminants (acid, metals and sediments from tailings and mine wastes) on the present ground and surface waters of the abandoned Marcopper mine site, including the Boac and Mogpog River watersheds.
The task to consistently monitor the structures and facilities of the mine site has become a special function of the MGB-MIMAROPA which even necessitates contingent visits similar to the evaluation done after a 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Municipality of Boac on January 27 this year which prompted RD Roland De Jesus to immediately dispatch a team to assess the structures and facilities for possible deterioration or other detrimental effect.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office IV-B recently created and convened its Multi-Stakeholder Team (MST) to undertake the review of performance of all operating mines within the MIMAROPA region.
Performing the function, pursuant to Memorandum Circular 2013-03 which provides for the creation of a Multi-Stakeholder Team to review the performance of existing mining operations issued by the MGB Director on November 29, 2013, the Regional Offices of the Departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE) represented by Mr. Peter James Cortazar; Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through Regional Director Wilma Naviamos; Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) together with its line agency, Environmental Management Bureau, through Mr. Pancrasio Alcantara and Ms. Edna Quindoza, respectively, actively took part in the deliberation held on December 23, 2013 to evaluate and determine the performance of the four operating mines in Palawan as well as existing exploration permitees within the region.
The highlights of the activity include the recommendation for cancellation of four existing permits in violation of certain provisions of the Consolidated Department Administrative Order (CDAO) No. 2010-21 and Memorandum Order No. 2010-04 which should be strictly adhered to by permit holders which will be endorsed to the Director for review and further instructions.
Relative to the performance evaluation of existing mining operations, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp., Coral Bay Nickel Corp., Berong Nickel Corp. and Citinickel Mines and Development Corp., all four were found to have satisfactorily complied with the requirements of the Philippine Mining Act in view of their respective Safety, Environment and Social Development programs.
To further strengthen the conduct of evaluation, MST members provided suggestions to improve the review sheet through inclusion of other indicators within the range of their authorities, in particular the companies’ adherence to labor laws, rules and policies and poverty incidence in the mining communities.
Besides the attendees, other listed members of the MST include the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Science and Technology (DOST), Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), National Council for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and concerned LGUs who can hopefully contribute and provide support in the undertaking in the furtherance of the government’s advocacy for responsible mining.