THE Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) said its members have been planting trees to rehabilitate sites near their mines in northeastern Mindanao and Palawan.
In a statement on Tuesday, the association said seven nickel miners have so far planted around 4.2 million trees in the Caraga region and Palawan.
PNIA Executive Director Charmaine Olea-Capili said: “Our ‘green’ footprint is larger than our mining footprint in terms of area. Our aggregate reforestation effort comes up to a total of about 2,000 hectares (ha) planted to date,” she said.
The planting program includes calamansi, rambutan, cashew, jackfruit, and cacao, among others, which are expected to provide livelihoods to the host communities.
“Much effort has been poured into rehabilitation because what has been planted will outlast the mine itself,” Ms. Capili said.
Early this year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources proposed to require miners to increase their reforestation efforts.
Ms. Capili said the planting activities have resulted in forest density of 2,100 trees per ha, higher than the National Greening Program’s goal of 1,000 trees per ha.
Through the NGP, the government hopes to reforest 1.2 million ha. by 2022. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato