Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. (RTN), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), has begun the last stretch of the company’s journey towards its goal of planting 5 million trees in Rio Tuba. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque graced the ceremonial planting of the first of the remaining 900,000 trees RTN needs to complete its 5M goal.
Secretary Roque said he wanted to see for himself the actual planting in the mining community and that he is impressed by what RTN is trying to do in Palawan, planting trees all over the province.
He said it is important that he personally saw the planting so he can report to President Rodrigo Duterte and the whole country that not all mining is irresponsible, that here in Bataraza, the environment is being cared for.
“I will report to President Duterte what Rio Tuba Mining is doing in greening Palawan, we will tell the world, since PTV media is here with us, that in Rio Tuba, in Bataraza, there is no difference between the concept of jobs creation and the protection of the environment,” said Roque.
To date, RTN has a record of about 4.1 Million surviving trees planted in various areas covered in its mine rehabilitation and reforestation programs.
Secretary Roque congratulated and thanked Nickel Asia, the LGU of Bataraza, and all the employees of the mining company for inviting him to Rio Tuba.
“I feel that I am personally accepted here to also act as a protector of the environment, and this event is proof that the communities can well benefit from the economic contributions of mining while protecting and preserving nature,” Roque said.
According to Environmental Planner, Janice M. Tupas, Manager of the Mines Environmental Protection and Enhancement Dept. (MEPED) of RTN, there is a mechanism that her team and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the DENR employ that actually monitors and counts the survival rates of the trees they plant.
“This year, we will be more aggressive, we will build hectares upon hectares of bamboo plantations, we will engage the communities to turn their backyards into mini forests and we will have support from the Department to Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Dept. of Education in Palawan that I feel we will even surpass 5 Million,” Tupas said.
RTN believes that contributing to the restoration and protection of the rich forest ecosystem in Palawan is a moral obligation, added Tupas.
Engineer Cynthia E. Rosero, resident mine manager for RTN, said having Secretary Roque grace this important event has helped showcase RTN’s environment protection programs and to the mining company’s aggressive efforts to keep Palawan green.
“Planting 5 million trees is no easy feat for a mining company and we are proud of this,” Rosero said.
Engr. Cytnthia E. Rosero, resident mine manager with Secretary Roque and JB Baylon, VP for Corporate Communications.
RTN said it is one of the mining companies deeply committed to achieving ecosystem restoration and reforestation in mined-out areas. Applying progressive rehabilitation strategies, RTN, in its more than 50 years of operation in Rio Tuba, has proven that an active mining company can create a forest in its path and can be the catalyst in the re-greening of a province like Palawan.
To date, RTN has rehabilitated a total of 196.64 hectares of its mining area where it has planted 1,205,763 surviving trees of different species including as narra, ipil, apitong, agoho, udling, kupang, batino, tongkat ali, amugis, among others. Some 663.08 has. have been reforested with native tree species, coffee, mangroves, botanical plant, and some industrial trees, in support of the government’s Green Philippine Highway Project; Adopt-a-Mountain Project; and the National Greening Program.
According to the company, they intend to plant trees to fulfill the objective of mine rehabilitation to restore disturbed areas to a safe, non-erodible condition, establishing land use capability that is functional and back to the condition, if not better, before disturbance.
“Planting 5 million trees is not something ordinary organizations can easily do, but RTN endeavors this for Palawan and in fact, RTN intends to plant more in the years to come,” said Tupas.