(Left photo) Personnel from WWRRDEC, BSU and Environmental Section of PMC posed after the site visit in the subsidence area in Alang, Camp 3, Tuba, Benguet on May 14, 2019. (Right photo) Part of the subsidence area planted with Paraserianthes falcataria and other plant species.

The Philex Mining Corporation (PMC) in Pacdal, Tuba, Benguet has been in operation since 1958 and is expected to end its mining activities in the near future.   Being a conscientious mineral resource company, PMC is committed to manage and rehabilitate the physical environment within and around its areas of operations especially the re-greening of subsidence and other degraded areas after their operations, hence, the need for rehabilitation measures/technologies.  A collaboration between the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau – Watershed and Water Resources Research, Development and Extension (ERDB-WWRRDEC) and PMC regarding R&D on the rehabilitation of open and denuded areas within their mining sites was then proposed for the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) Program.

The CRADLE Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) endeavors to invigorate the Philippine Innovation ecosystems by stimulating Research and Development collaboration between researchers, scientists and engineers (RSEs) in the academe and local private companies.  The program involves private sector industry like PMC who will benefit in the technologies/information to be generated through the conduct of Research and Development.

Victor Ma. A. Francisco, Vice President for Environment and Community Relations of PMC is emphatic of research undertakings that will support the Company in its campaign to ecologically restore the degraded mining areas. He said that the research should not only be confined to regenerate the open areas vegetatively but should go beyond to provide sustainable source of income in the near future to the community who will be left behind after the PMC operations ceased.  Since the protection and management of the forested areas which have been managed, developed and protected by the Company for more than a century will be shouldered by the local communities, sustainable management techniques through research should be taken into consideration.  “This is a big challenge to sustain the protection of the existing forest cover in the area that will safeguard the well-being of the future generations living within the mining sites and adjoining areas”, he said.

The site visit in the PMC area by the WWRRDEC Staff together with Researchers from Benguet State University (BSU) gathered benchmark information as basis for crafting research proposals.   Sites visited were Tailing Storage Facilities 1, 2 and 3, and the subsidence area in Alang, Camp 3, Tuba, Benguet. Rhandy S. Tubal, WWRRDEC