CAGDIANAO, Dinagat Islands province: Cagdianao Mining Corp. (CMC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nickel Asia Copt. (NAC), is stepping up its operations to export 12 more shipments of nickel ore to China by the second week of November.
According to CMC Mine Production Supervisor Noah Balonzo, the company has completed 25 shipments to China. The 26th and 27th shipments are currently in the process of loading onto the barge.
CMC is one of three nickel mining companies that continue to operate in the Dinagat Islands following the crackdown against irresponsible mining by former Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez.
Dinagat Island, one of the country’s mineral reservation areas, has 12 mining firms that continue to operate.
Each shipment involves 55,000 wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore. Nickel currently costs around $20 to $30 per WMT in the world market for 1.45 percent nickel.
Currently, there are three active mines within CMC where nickel ores are being extracted. These are pits 1, 3 and 5, which cover a total of 30.94 hectares.
A total of 300 workers are working in three shifts to complete this year’s target of 39 shipments.
“Under our ore transport permit and ore export permits, we are allowed to ship out 52,000 wet metric tons of nickel ore plus or minus 10 percent,” Balonzo said.
NAC acquired CMC in 1999. Under the new management, CMC started commercial production and made its first shipment of nickel ore in 2001.
Balonzo said the nickel deposit in the CMC’s nickel mine in the area is sufficient to sustain operation over the next 20 years.
CMC’s Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) in Dinagat Island covers a total of 697.05 hectares. Of these, a total of 268.21 hectares represent the “disturbed area.”
Around 60 percent of the mined out area, covering around 70 of the 150 hectares, has been completely reforested with native and fruit-bearing trees. Around 12.2 hectares more are undergoing rehabilitation.
The company’s mine facilities include a stock yard, waste dump, settling ponds, mine haulage roads, and CMC structures or buildings, including guest houses and offices.
Around 428.84 hectares of the company’s mining tenement remain undisturbed and maintained with lush forest vegetation, of which 394 hectares are natural or virgin forest.
The company boasts of implementing progressive rehabilitation of mined out areas and produces its own planting materials—native and fruit-bearing trees—at a tree nursery located within the CMC compound for reforestation activities.
Torrential rains are expected in the next few months, particularly in December until March, before the summer season.
After its last shipment in November, operations will focus on mine rehabilitation through massive tree-planting activities in mined out areas. During the wet season, mining operations slowly shift to reforestation activities.
Dinagat Islands is host to a diverse species of plant and animal wildlife. A new species of tarsier was recently discovered by scientists in the province.