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PIA Press Release

BHP Billiton targets zero harm in Mati

By Neela G. Duallo

City of Mati, Davao Oriental (6 February) -- Envisioning a world class nickel facility in the Philippines, which will be located in the City of Mati, Bhp Billiton targets zero harm for the City of Mati and it's constituents in achieving its vision.

Dr. Benhur Catbagan, Community Relations Superintendent, disclosed that the company is now at the verge of fulfilling corporate social responsibilities as part of their commitment to ascertain the sustainability of the progress that responsible mining can bring to the host communities.

Said corporate social responsibilities also ensure the upliftment of the quality of life for the host communities, as it dwells on livelihood, job opportunities, health services, safe water, education, and maintaining and protecting biodiversity.

In the recently concluded Kaibigan Workshop on Good Governance, the tribal leaders and barangay officials of Barangay Cabuaya and Barangay Macambol, the organizers of the workshop, expressed their concerns and hope that the company can help expedite the answer to their concerns.

Tribal leaders dream of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim Title-CADT, while the barangays prioritized the need for water system, particularly spring development for Brgy. Cabuaya,, completion of a high school building for Brgy. Macambol, infrastructure development, scholarship program, and the need to create a community technical working group.

The group will be tasked to monitor the flow of the implementation of the project, and monitor the flow of providing the communities' needs.

Expected composition of the group are the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, DENR, PNP, representatives from the two barangays, the academe, non-government organizations, and the Church.

Catbagan further explained that it has been the policy of the company to do things in partnership.

"Billiton wants to tie up with linkages, as a way also to achieve sustainability, The company will make partnership with the local government units, the academe, non-government organizations, religious sector, and others," he said.

Most importantly after the nickel project that is seen to exist in the next 40 to 50 years, Bhp Billiton will not leave the site useless and unproductive.

"Equally important is what we will do after the operation, It's in the plan to develop the area, make it an eco-tourism attraction. We want also to ensure a bright future to the next generation, especially to the children in the host communities," Catbagan added.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 11 divulged that as Billiton is still in the exploratory stage, the company is not obliged yet to do those corporate social responsibilities, and commended the company for taking the responsibilities.

The BHP nickel mining in Barangay Macambol started it's exploration last year, and hopes to end it next year.

Once the operation starts by 2015, some four thousand people will be employed to the P 66 billion peso nickel project. (Mati City-PIA XI) [top]

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