Midst all the controversy the mining industry is going through, I couldn’t help but look back on the stories I’ve done for the industry as a whole.
Nickel Asia Corporation was my first mine. It was also what set the benchmark earlier on in my profession as a Journalist, what an ethically-run mine looked like.
Once you’ve seen the best, it would be beneath anyone to look for anything less. The standards they’ve set up for their employees, adopted communities and IPs, operations, health and safety are extremely hard to live up to.
Allow me to get this out: This is by no means a paid ad. I am only showing you, my dear reader, what it was like for me when I took the plane there and saw for myself how professional mines are run. Together with Diwata & Atty. Patricia Bunye, I am glad I took that trip years ago.
The night of 16 July 2014, typhoon Glenda with international name Rammasun, struck the country with ferocity. My colleagues from Diwata waited restlessly for the airline companies to cancel flights. No announcement came.
First thing on the morning of 17 July, we all flew to Puerto Princesa, Palawan to visit nickel mining company Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation at their mine site in Bataraza.
The 1 hour flight was uneventful. The road trip was a different story. The party I was with were going topsy-turvy in their seats because of the rough road with bags flying everywhere. It was a hilarious and glorious 4 hours of rough road!
What awaited us when we arrived at the hotel was a quick break and a shower. Eventually we all had to head out to explore the mine site, the communities and learn what mining has really done for that small patch of Palawan.
Below are memories captured in photographs.
Mac computers are used by children of mine workers and their host communities. These children avail of free education as well.
An IP boy from the Bataraza tribe showing his sword play skills.
The Bataraza tribe is just one of the IPs being supported by the mining company. They welcomed the rest of Diwata through their tribal dance.
Mine site rehabilitation and protection is done parallel to operations of the mine.
One of RTNMC’s female miners giving us a our on site.
I apologize if these photos don’t do much justice for the experience, but this is as far as I can share: You have to go there and see for yourself.
Ask a geologist, engineer or someone from the academe. Ask them what makes a responsible mine. Do your own research.
It’s not enough that you read it on the news or watch it on TV or the internet. Ignorance is dangerous and we cannot afford ignorance right now especially if millions of lives hang on the balance.
Even before the term ‘responsible mining’ was trendy, Rio Tuba was already at the forefront. It may have been my first mine, but it certainly won’t be my last.
Liked this story? please contact the Author:
MARIA PAULA TOLENTINO
mpatolentino at gmail dot com