Two of the country’s leading mining companies have expressed strong support for Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu’s call to provide additional areas for bamboo plantations as part of the Duterte administration’s post-coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) recovery efforts.
Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. and Benguet Corp.'s Nickel Mines Inc. welcomed the order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ requiring mining firms to double their areas allotted for bamboo plantations from 10 percent to 20 percent of the declared final mining area as part of the government’s economic recovery program.
The DENR issued the order on June 11, 2020 in memorandum titled “Establishment of Bamboo Plantation in Mining Areas” that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau sent to all mining companies.
The memorandum is meant to address soil erosion, landslides and flooding which are common occurences in any mine site.
MMDC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of listed Marcventures Holdings Inc., pioneered the planting of bamboo trees in Surigao del Sur in its effort to provide livelihood, environmental benefits, absorb greenhouse gases and protect the soil.
“Marcventures is the acknowledged pioneer among mining companies in bamboo planting and has been cited by the DENR, and so far, with biggest bamboo llanting area. The DENR has now mandated the planting of bamboo as a major activity for mine rehabilitation,” said Isidro Alcantara, president and board director of MHI, which has mining operations in Cantillan, Carrascal and Madrid in Surigao del Sur.
With the celebration of World Bamboo Day on September 18, MHI reported that it has already planted a total of 34,375 bamboo seedlings covering over 54.3 hectares.
“Marcventures has pioneered bamboo planting in the mined-out areas and possibly in the non-mineralized parts as a potentially permanent livelihood to sustain the communities beyond the life of Marcventures,” Alcantara added.
“In Marcventures, we describe our mining as clean and sustainable mining in addition to responsible mining,” Alcantara pointed out. “We are therefore committed to sustain our business by practicing clean and sustainable mining.”
For BNMI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Benguet Corp., said bamboo planting will provide opportunities for local employment and establish bamboo-based community enterprise for home decors and furniture.
“This will help promote environmental wellness amid the pandemic and provide livelihood for the people,” BNMI said. “Bamboo forest, aside from conserving biodiversity, contribute to purification and regulation of the environment as they function as carbon sink.”
BNMI said it has complied with the DENR’s directive and propagated an approximate 30,000 bamboo culms/seedlings of mixed species of Kawayang Tinik, Bayto, Boho and Kawayang Dilaw in sitio Binagbag, barangay Guisguis, Santa Cruz, Zambales.