On October 23, 2020, Undersecretary Jim O. Sampulna (CESO III) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was invited as one of the key speakers during the second episode of Nickel Initiative Talks and Webinars Series sponsored by the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), entitled: “Progressive Rehabilitation and Environment Programs during the Pandemic.”
The said PNIA’s webinar aims to promote dialogue and learning among nickel development players, stakeholders and experts through the sharing of information, insights and best practices. In addition, the webinar seeks to promote informed discussion on industry initiatives and enhance cooperation and collaboration between the industry and its stakeholders.
During the webinar, Usec Sampulna stresses the government’s optimism that the mining industry will continue to sustainably achieve responsible mining amid the pandemic: “To the members of the PNIA, and to the rest of other organizations and partners in the mining industry, the government acknowledges that the industry as a whole is facing challenges on how it would sustainably achieve responsible mining in this very unprecedented COVID-19 situation without jeopardizing the highly anticipated benefit from mining and w/o leading in to loss of income and job retrenchment. However, despite the setbacks and challenges, we believe in your resilience, determination and strength. We are hopeful and confident that the implementation of our respective work and programs for safety and health of the workforce, environmental management and social development which are mandated by our government is still in place and is adapting to our current situation.”
In addition, Usec Sampulna presented the notable accomplishments of certain mining companies with regard to the implementation of progressive rehabilitation during the pandemic through their Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program such as Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) in Bataraza, Palawan; Coral Bay Nickel Corporation in Bataraza, Palawan; Philex Gold Philippines, Inc located in Sibutad, Zamboanga del Norte; and Platinum Group Metals Corporation in Claver, Surigao del Norte. Likewise, Usec Sampulna commended the progressive rehabilitation and environmental activities undertaken by PNIA members located in Zambales, Palawan and Caraga Region.
Recent updates on the thrust of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu regarding the establishment of bamboo plantation in mining areas, through the Bamboo Plantation Program, were also highlighted by Usec Sampulna. Accordingly, the mining sector committed 14,420 hectares of bamboo plantation across the country in line with the contribution of the DENR in the recovery of the economy post-COVID 19. To date, commendable bamboo plantation established by certain mining companies in the country are exemplified by Philex Mining Corporation located in Tuba Benguet; RTNMC in Bataraza, Palawan; and Hinatuan Mining Corporation located in Tagana-an Surigao del Norte.
The webinar was also joined by Atty. Dante R. Bravo, PNIA President, and reiterated PNIA’s commitment on strengthening environment rehabilitation and enhancement programs even during the pandemic. On the other hand, Engr. Marcial H. Mateo, Chief, Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau also joined Usec Sampulna and provided insights on the intensification of IEC on best practices of mining industry and the ongoing draft policy on the integration of biodiversity conservation measures in mining operations.
The full episode of the said webinar is available at PNIA’s Facebook Page through this link: https://www.facebook.com/philippine.nickel/videos/353497979240938. The PNIA webinar series was attended by almost 70 participants from the academe (Saint Louis University and University of the Philippines); private organizations (European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and International Nickel Study Group); PNIA Members (Agata Mining Ventures Inc.; Berong Nickel Corporation; Carascal Nickel Corporation; Citinickel Mines Development Corporation; CTP Construction and Mining Corporation; Marcventures Development Corporation; Platinum Group Metals Corporation; and Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation; other mining companies (Sumitomo Metal Mining Philippine Holdings Corp.; Benguet Corporation; Apex Mining Co. Inc.) and other government agencies (Department of Trade and Industry; Department of Science and Technology; and National Economic and Development Authority).
Usec. Jim Sampulna was recently appointed by Secretary Cimatu as the Undersecretary for Enforcement, Mining and Muslim Affairs pursuant to DENR Special Order No. 2020-310 dated September 15, 2020.
By: Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division
Photo 1. Usec Jim O. Sampulna (upper right); Atty. Dante R. Bravo (upper left); Ms. Charmaine Olea-Capili, PNIA Executive Director (lower left); and Engr. Marcial H. Mateo (lower right) during the PNIA webinar via Zoom. (Source: Photo grabbed from PNIA Facebook Page)