Benguet Corp sets ‘green mine’ rehab

Benguet Corp. has proposed to Baguio City and the municipality of Itogon in Benguet province to undertake the final rehabilitation of one of its Antamok Open Pits, located in Itogon, with a project that will involve an Engineered Sanitary Landfill that will also lead to a Renewable Waste to Energy Project. 

The pit has a capacity of 535,400 cubic meters and could easily handle the disposal of the expected daily volume of 150 to 200 metric tons, not only from Itogon and Baguio but also the surrounding areas of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay.

In a memorandum of agreement to cooperate with Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan and Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan signed on Jan. 6, 2017, and a further letter to the Baguio City Council, Benguet Corp. executive director Isidro C. Alcantara said all the necessary project feasibility studies will be done in consultation with the local government officials to ensure all their concerns will be addressed.

Initial findings show that the ESL could provide a solution to the garbage disposal problem that can run indefinitely, since it will provide and recycle bio-degradable raw material input to the WTE project that is estimated to generate as much 25 megawatts. 

Additionally, the landfill at Antamok will avoid any potential health related issues that may arise from the ill effects of insufficient handling of garbage in a major city.

Currently, Baguio sends its garbage to Capas, Tarlac—a distance of 155 kilometers—and spends about P80 million yearly for it. 

The proposed Antamok Site is only 18.5 kilometers from Baguio and Itogon, of which 12.5 kilometers is on a concrete all-purpose road, while only 2.5 kilometers needs to be widened and improved to access the ESL site, the company said.

Expected savings for Baguio alone could be as much as P45 million annually, Benguet Corp. added. An encouraging factor is that the project can then be launched very quickly without any funds spent for land acquisition, road building, and with minimal site development.

Benguet Corp. will assign in perpetuity the 42-hectare open pit site. A joint venture with an industrial partner and developer, Goldrich Natural Resources Exploration and Development Inc., will be formed, which will construct and develop the ESL at no cost to Baguio and Itogon.

Another project proponent using the latest renewable energy technology is being invited to put up the waste-to-energy project, and Baguio and Itogon are expected to receive economic benefits from the WTE company.

A Technological Working Group and Assessment Team has been created, composed of representative from the two LGUs, Benguet Corp., the Regional Environmental Management Bureau, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and Goldrich.  

The TWG will assess and choose the technology, craft the corporate structure, and address the public interest requirements for the project. The final proposal will be presented for approval of the mayors and their respective town councils prior to implementation.

Upon conclusion and acceptance of the Project Feasibility Study, Benguet Corp. and the LGUs will formally submit the proposal to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the MGB as the amendment of and approval of the Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Program for Antamok.

“It is hopefully expected the DENR and MGB will support the proposals, which are both Recycling and Renewable Energy Projects currently being espoused by the DENR,” Alcantara said. 

He added the proposed ESL and Waste to Energy Projects “fall exactly within their guidelines of creating and converting mine sites and their rehabilitation into socio-economic zones to benefit the surrounding communities that will result in new ‘green economy’ jobs.”

Topics: Benguet Corp. , Baguio City , Itogon , Antamok Open Pits , Engineered Sanitary Landfill , Renewable Waste to Energy Project
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