Mining firms fund 1st molecular testing lab in Caraga
Several mining firms in Caraga Region have pooled their resources together to establish the area's first Molecular Testing Laboratory (MTL) for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency Tuesday, the Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPAL) said it partnered with Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) and the latter's affiliates--Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) and Cagdianao Mining Corporation (CMC)--to establish the MTL through an PHP18-million donation to the Philippine Red Cross.
The Philippine Red Cross, in turn, will establish the MTO to further capacitate the Covid-19 testing needs in the region, THPAl said.
“The laboratory will be equipped with modern facility for the processing of Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing in order to determine whether a particular individual is infected with Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19),” the company added.
THPAL underscored the importance of a Covid-19 testing facility, noting that Caraga is expecting the influx of returning residents and overseas Filipino workers who were stranded following the quarantine protocols nationwide to contain Covid-19.
"It is also unfortunate that the Caraga Region has no accredited laboratory that has met the DOH standards should there be a case of local transmission. As part of solidary preparation, a joint Public and Private Partnership is being forged to fight this formidable enemy, the Covid‐19," THPAL said.
THPAL thanked the Philippine Red Cross chairman, Senator Richard Gordon, director Glenn Marcel Noble of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Caraga, and Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco Matugas, for supporting the initiative.
THPAL, a hydrometallurgical processing plant operating inside the Taganito Special Economic Zone in the town of Claver, Surigao del Norte, is hosted by 14 barangays and four Mamanwa tribal Communities.
The mining firm converts low-grade nickel laterite ore to produce nickel and cobalt mixed sulfide, the end products of which are exported to Japan for further processing. The final products are used as inputs for the production of medical tools and equipment, electronic batteries, and other industrial materials.
THPAL started operations in 2013 with an investment value of USD1.6 billion.
NAC, on the other hand, is the largest nickel supplier in the country; its affiliate CMC is based in the Dinagat Island town Cagdianao, while TMC operates in Claver, Surigao del Norte.