Philex graduates first batch of Geologic Aides
TUBA, BENGUET – Philex Mining Corp. has recently facilitated the completion of training of the 23 geologic aides through a program funded, run and organized by the company, which espouses continuous learning that leads to “better life situations” for the participants and graduates.
“I support and agree to continue this program provided there are interested trainees,” said the company’s CEO and president, Eulalio Austin Jr., in a speech during formal ceremonies to honor the first graduates of the Geologic Aide Training Academy (GATA), held Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Social Hall of Saint Louis High School-Philex, in Itogon’s Brgy. Ampucao. “We must not forget that education is the greatest inheritance we can have.”
Roy Ronald Luis, manager at Padcal’s Exploration Group, said the program focused on improving the skills of the company’s geologic aides and other participants and, consequently, on developing the information dissemination of exploration activities to the communities concerned.
“Geologists of ongoing exploration activities on the different sites of Philex Mining’s MPSA-156 needed more skilled geologic aides to assist them in the conduct of field activities,” he stressed. “And the company’s current geologic aides also required refresher and additional training covering a wide range of subjects to satisfy the different needs of the ongoing exploration projects.”
Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) 156, as well as the company’s MPSA 276, covers more than 5,010 hectares (has.) of land in Tuba and Itogon, but Philex Mining utilizes a measly 580has. of these areas for its mining operations: 410has. for mining facilities and 170has. for residential and institutional use.
Eleven of the 23 graduates had either worked or have been working at the Geology and Exploration Division of Philex Mining’s Padcal operations in this province while the rest hailed from the different villages of the company’s host municipalities of Tuba and Itogon.
“I congratulate the organizers of this academy, as well as the graduates for having participated in this training program,” Redempta Baluda, VP for Exploration at Philex Mining, said.
Austin said, “Congratulations to those responsible in organizing and implementing this program, considering our continuing project to extend the mine life of Padcal [beyond 2022] because the chances of opening new sites in other areas are difficult. Thus, we need to continue exploring adjacent communities where people are already familiar with what a mine looks like.”
Luis, who was one of the brains behind GATA, said the program consisted of about 30 sessions that were completed in four months, with materials/booklets and snacks provided free of charge. A team of Philex Mining geologists, on the other hand, had administered the lectures and guided the field works, done after office hours and during weekends, also pro bono.
He also said that besides being well-equipped to work as geologic aides, the graduates—who had learned, among other subjects, structural and geologic mapping, sampling procedures, and drilling—could now serve as vehicles for the dissemination of information on Philex Mining’s ongoing exploration projects in their respective villages.
Aurora Dolipas, manager for Community Relations (ComRel) at Philex Mining’s gold-and-copper operations in Padcal, whose department provided the P209,600-budget for GATA through the Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG), said, “ComRel is more than willing to be a partner in any exploration activities.”
DMTG, which provides for the pursuit and implementation of programs to develop the mining industry, is one of the company’s major programs on corporate social responsibility (CSR). And as mandated by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), a government body under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), DMTG, the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), and the Information, Education and Communications (IEC) campaign get an annual budget of 1.5 percent of a miner’s total operating costs in the previous year.
Dolipas earlier said P11 million had been set aside by Philex Mining for the 2017 DMTG; P16.6 million for IEC, which is tasked to disseminate information on the benefits derived by society from the mining industry; and P82.9 million for the SDMP, through which the company has implemented its community projects on health, education, livelihood, and public infrastructure.
Ulysses Wais, a community officer at ComRel who used to work as a geologic aide at the Geology and Exploration, took a refresher at GATA and said he looks forward to sharing the knowledge and experience he has acquired to his peers and neighbors in Tuba’s Brgy. Camp3. “My experience as a dragger, hauler, core-checker, geologic logger, and, now, a community organizer will surely help me continue working in Philex Mining and with my community,” he said. PR / ABN