September 28, 2023

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The Makilala Mining Company, Inc. (MMCI) management led by its President and Chair Julito Sarmiento recently met with officials and representatives from government agencies, Apostolic Vicariate of Tabuk-Social Action Center (AVT-SAC), and military personnel to present the Maalinao-Caigutan-Biyog (MCB) Mining Project in Balatoc, Pasil.

The project covers a total area of 2,500.82 hectares, an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) area of 480 hectares, and primary impact area of 31.83 hectares.

The MCB Mining Project has already obtained an ECC and is now on the pre-development permitting stage. An application for Mineral Production and Sharing Agreement has been submitted and currently undergoing evaluation.

Exploration works were conducted from 2006 to 2020 and commercial production is targeted to start by 2025.

The company discussed safeguards to environmental issues and possible damage to agricultural lands in Tabuk City.

MMCI management vouched to practice responsible mining in the area.

The officials assured there will be no tailings dam and they will minimize project footprint, avoid economic, physical, and cultural displacement impacts; and integrate measures to address current community and environmental issues, which include establishment of flood control system and non-encroachment to adjacent tenement.

They reported the company introduced environmental measures integrated in the mine design with a technology designed to be developed and operated through a sublevel open stopping mining method with paste backfill and hydraulic fill.

MMCI said about 70 percent of the tailings will be processed as backfill materials for mined-out areas underground, thus, eliminating the need for a tailings dam removing the possibility of environmental impacts (tailings spill).

Excess tailings could be used for various purposes such as dry stacking, hollow block manufacturing as community livelihood, road base, landfill, among others.

The free, prior, and informed consent-memorandum of agreement with the host Balatoc indigenous cultural community includes provision for the conservation and protection of the ancestral domain and cultural values and traditions.

An environmental impact statement has also been submitted as part of securing the ECC, which details the company’s commitments to avoid and mitigate anticipated environmental impacts.

The MCB Project, according to MCCI, is the first mining project under the new Department of Environment and Natural Resources leadership that committed to go beyond responsible mining.

Fr. George Manisem said the AVT-SAC is not against development.

“We are not against development provided it will not bring bad effects on the environment and the people,” he said.

His youth companions from SAC strongly urged the mining company to adhere to all its obligations and responsibilities, and to judiciously fulfill its promises for the next generations to benefit from responsible mining.

MCB Mining Project officials also met with members of the Tabuk City legislative body on July 25. – Peter Balocnit