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TVIRD’s Agata Nickel Project Goes Beyond ISO Expectations
TUBAY, Agusan del Norte / October 2017 – Agata Mining Ventures Inc. (AMVI), a joint project of TVI Resource Development Inc. (TVIRD) and MRL Nickel Philippines Inc., recently announced that it has passed its first ISO 14001:2004 surveillance audit conducted by Intertek at its nickel laterite DSO mine site.
The company has complied fully with DENR Administrative Order No. 2015-07 and demonstrates that AMVI recognizes and adheres to the highest environmental management standards while meeting both its social and economic goals. In addition, the audit cited the company for logging over 11 million safe man hours and an impressive 97.12% survival rate of its cultivated plants at the Agata Project.
TVIRD operates the Agata Nickel Laterite Project in its 4,995-hectare Mineral Processing Sharing Agreement (MPSA) area in the municipalities of Tubay, Jabonga and Santiago of this province. The company has planted and grown close to 200,000 trees within and around its MPSA, offsetting the areas affected by mining activities.
Prior to conducting the recent surveillance audit, AMVI received its ISO certification last 21 October 2016. Intertek Philippines, a reputable ISO-accrediting institution, concluded its third-party audit and was satisfied with both the company’s internal compliance procedures as well as its Environmental Management System (EMS).
Since then, the company institutionalized a periodic review of the EMS and the policy in order to ensure its relevance, effectiveness and to ensure the overall sustainability of its environment.
AMVI plans to further increase the effectiveness and efficiency of its environmental management processes – including policy and planning – with the objective of ensuring sustainability. This also includes identifying clearly defined, measurable and practicable objectives and targets that are in coherence with legal and social frameworks.
More importantly, initiatives foster commitment from both management and the organization’s ranks in relation to defined roles, responsibilities and authority – all in line with accepted best practices.
On a more macro perspective, the successful surveillance audit likewise underpins that the company’s environmental management standards run parallel with that of international standards.
Since the start of its Canatuan gold and silver mining operations in Siocon Municipality, Zamboanga del Norte in 2004, parent company TVIRD has operated under principles and guidelines identified and recommended by several international organizations.
Most mining companies in the Philippines have incorporated these guidelines and principles in their operations long before the requirement for ISO Certification. Many of the mining standards and regulations developed by Canada, Australia and other countries have also long been part of TVIRD’s environmental policy.
ISO: the road ahead
Agata is guided by its EMS to clearly determine the responsibility of each personnel in the EMS Resources, Roles and Authorities Register. In addition, the register is also used to record the training plan and the summary of programs attended by each employee.
Agata is exploring a method for evaluating the effectiveness of employee trainings and the corresponding impact on performance. It also plans to address gaps, if any, on the proper use of safety equipment, awareness of the EMS – and ultimately, further improve the organization’s environmental performance in key conservation areas: water fuel and paper.
Various other environmental initiatives that were implemented include landscaping of selected areas within its MPSA, carbonization of rice hulls for soil ameliorants, the installation of floaters for its silt curtain and keeping its waters clean, and the ongoing construction and fortification of its hazardous waste storage facility.
The road leading to ISO gained the active participation of Agata employees, contractors and its immediate community on initiatives like incident management, emergency preparedness and response, and the seamless implementation of the company’s EMS.
To date, TVIRD has consistently been recognized by various institutions for its exceptional environmental management and safety standards and practices. In its Agata Mining Project, the company’s coral relocation and coastal resource management program became the first in the region and was previously recognized with an Outstanding Performance Award by the DENR.
Agata is likewise a consecutive recipient of the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (Titanium) in the Surface Mining Operation Category.