Rio Tuba mine adopts DOST waste converter
Rio Tuba Nickel (RTN) became the first company in the local mining industry to use the Department of Science and Technology’s bioreactor that converts biodegradable wastes into organic fertilizers and soil conditioners.
RTN, a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), adopted this innovative soil conditioning technology through DOST’s technology transfer program.
According to DOST project supervisor Dr. Myra L. Tansengco, the principle behind the bioreactor developed by the department’s Industrial Technology Development Institute is to promote efficient solid waste management practices in the communities to comply with Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
“RTN is the first mining company to use the fertilizer and soil conditioner from this bioreactor for their rehabilitation programs and for use in the communities,” said Tansengco.
Engr. Cynthia Rosero, RTN Resident Mine Manager, said: “RTN intends to extend the use of these organic fertilizers for the ongoing vegetable production projects in the IP communities in Rio Tuba that aims to cater to the growing demands for organic vegetables in Palawan.”
RA 9003 was signed into law in 2001. It is the legal framework for a systematic, comprehensive, and ecological solid waste management program in the Philippines.
Almost 20 years after RA 9003 became a law, the challenge continues with enforcing proper waste segregation in the communities.
Engr. David L. Herrera, Senior Science Specialist at the DOST, explains that the challenge is mainly for the barangay-level folks to be able to visualize how solid waste can be useful, for the individual and for the community as a whole, for them to be really serious about waste segregation.
“We are banking on RTN’s community relations competency. I believe that if the barangay folks can distinctly understand how wastes are converted into useful materials, waste segregation will be easy to enforce,” Herrera explained.
“RTN is proud to be first in the mining industry to run this bioreactor, it gives us the integrity to compel the community to segregate household wastes. We are committed to educate the barangays on how solid wastes from their homes and backyards, when handled properly, can contribute to the protection of the environment and help reduce environment degradation,” added Wilbern Blitz Paeste, RTN’s Mining Technology and Geosciences Coordinator.
Paeste shared that DOST’s bioreactor is in one of the facilities established by RTN to promote materials recovery.
Materials to be fed in the bioreactor are biodegradable wastes from the communities, classified as – dry waste, wet waste, and animal manure. Efficient classification and segregation of wastes are critical to produce fertilizers and soil conditioners, he added.
RTN hopes the people in their communities can envision how their daily household wastes can help grow plants and help make more productive the soils in the mine site in preparation for rehabilitation.
“When everyone can clearly picture this process, we are confident of a successful solid waste management program in the mining communities,” said Paeste.