• Philippine Resources

Green technology-trained workers key to sustainability

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

WORKING towards a sustainable social and economic development while mainstreaming environmental concerns into the world of work, a mining firm in Nueva Vizcaya maintains its pool of highly trained green technology workforce in partnership with an Australia-based training provider.

In 2015, OceanaGold Philillipines Inc. (OGPI) with an investment of $1.4 million collaborated with Site Skills Training (SST) in Clark, Pampanga to provide internationally recognized underground mining training to residents of its host and 10 other adjacent communities in the mining area.

David Way, OGPI general manager, said local residents in the community were sent to SST and had graduated, receiving an International Certificate 2 in Underground Metalliferous Mining Work Readiness Course.

SST is part of Site Group International, a registered training organization under the Australian Skills Quality Authority delivering Australian recognized and international best practice tailored training, assessment and competency assurance for trade specific and industrial skills in the oil and gas, mining, construction and services industry.

“To date, 94 students have graduated from the course and have taken on roles with the Didipio’s green mining technology,” Way said.

An Aussie mining firm, OGPI operates the Didipio Mine in the mineral deposit-rich upland village of Didipio in Kasibu town in Nueva Vizcaya province. Didipio Mine is a high-grade underground gold and copper mine. In 2006, the company acquired the project through a merger with Climax Mining Ltd. and commenced commercial production as an open pit operation in 2013. The mine transitioned in 2016 from an open pit to underground operation, with production from the underground commencing in early 2017.

“We employ approximately 1,589 people, 98 percent are Filipinos, 55 percent reside in the host provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino, and 30 percent reside in the host, community of Didipio,” Way said, adding that only 2 percent of employees are expatriates.

One of OGPI’s more prominent green technologies used in the Didipio Mine is the $6.1-million automated water treatment (AWT) facility with water recycling efficiency increased by up to 90 percent. With AWT, the mine’s processing plant has drastically reduced reliance on freshwater, maintaining the health of aquatic environments.

Another technology is an environmentally friendly paste backfilling method for its underground tunnel preventing ground subsidence or gradual caving in and sinking of an area and other related issues.

“Being green and responsible, the environment need not be harmed and even returned to a fertile, lush state if there is enough will and wherewithal to back it up,” Way said.

Gender equality and workers’ rights

He said 18 percent of the employees were female and the company was working towards a target of 20 percent, including women in support services, underground mining, technical and engineering roles, including management roles.

OGPI’s operation is subject to regular monitoring, inspection and verification by various government agencies and by a multipartite monitoring yeam composed of members from national government agencies, local government units and communities.

“Regular internal and external audits are conducted on our compliance with the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement, existing permits and with Philippine laws, rules regulations and our corporate policies,” Way said.

The Philippines, having a highly educated workforce with a passion for learning, OGPI has continually invested in providing skills and technical training.

“We value and respect our employees and without them, we could not run our operation. We prioritize fair remuneration, a safe and inclusive workplace and take employment benefits and labor rights very seriously and that we provide benefits beyond those mandated by law,” Way said.

In 2013, OGPI employees also organized the Pun-oh-ohhaan Hi Kiphodan, a labor union, which successfully negotiated with the company and signed two successive collective bargaining agreements and continue collaborating in dealing with workers’ concerns.

Original article: https://www.manilatimes.net/green-technology-trained-workers-key-to-sustainability/529549/


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