BY LEANDER C. DOMINGO
KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya (March 28, 2023)—The Didipio Mine’s Community Development Fund (CDF) steering committee has approved P97,944,000 worth of community projects in 33 villages in the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya.
Didipio Mine’s operator OceanaGold (Philippines) Inc. (OGPI) said it has been implementing various community projects in the said provinces in partnership with government agencies, local government units, communities and organizations.
OGPI is the subsidiary of the Australian Canadian OceanaGold Corp. (OGC), which owns the Didipio Mine in the gold and copper deposit-rich upland village of Didipio in the town of Kasibu in this province.
OGPI noted that under its CDF program, the company spends on community development projects as an improvement in the renewed government license or the financial or technical assistant agreement (FTAA).
These projects are implemented outside the mine’s immediate host and surrounding villages, the company said.
According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 2 Director Mario Ancheta, the OGPI community development fund (CDF) is the first and only CDF in the Philippines established by a mining company.
For another 25 years, the company said its renewed FTAA reflects similar financial terms and conditions, while providing additional benefits to the regional communities and provinces hosting the operation.
The initial 25-year FTAA, a permit issued to a multinational company sharing technology and resources to explore and extract minerals in the Philippines, took effect on June 20, 1994. It expired on June 20, 2019, a year after OceanaGold lodged its renewal application.
Last week, the steering committee discussed the proposed community scholarship program (CSP) of the company, which is expected to benefit 75 students from different Indigenous Peoples groups.
The meeting was joined by Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and lawyer Joan Adaci-Cattiling, OGPI president, among other officials.
The committee said these scholars taking up college, technical and vocational courses are also from the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya. Each student will receive P40,000 per year.
According to Adaci-Cattiling, the guidelines of the CSP are being drafted by a technical working group.
Meanwhile, in an OGC report, the corporation is pouring as much as P2.8 billion in capital investment to the Didipio Mine to boost its operation in this province.
The report said the capital investment is for general operations, growth capital, tailing storage facility lift and associated infrastructure plus improvements for on-site accommodation, pre-strip and capitalized mining, and for exploration of the Didipio Mine.