BAGUIO CITY – The Benguet Corporation and its development partner, Goldrich Natural Resources Exploration and Development Inc., entered into separate agreements with the City Government of Baguio and the Municipal government of Itogon for the conversion of its Antamok properties into an engineered sanitary landfill with a waste-to-energy compost primarily geared towards sustainable environmental preservation and protection in the concerned localities.
Signing the memorandum of agreement in behalf of Benguet Corporation was BC Executive Director Isidro C. Alcantara, Jr. while Goldrich was represented by its president lawyer Jaime A. Paredes, Jr.. The city was represented by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan while Itogon was also represented by Mayor Victorio Palangdan.
Under the agreement, BC will be obliged to turn over the physical possession of its Antamok properties in favour of Goldrich that are actually needed for the landfill and waste-to-energy project as well as to allow its developer access to the properties through the company’s surrounding properties for the entire economic life of the project, provided, BC shall retain ownership rights over the Antamok properties and shall have access at anytime for purposes of conducting operation and repair and maintenance activities in its underground facilities and other mine structures located in the area.
At the end of the agreement which is initially estimated to last for a period of 25 years and renewable for another 25 years, the possession of the patented lands shall revert back to the mining company.
BC shall also secure the approval from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as part of the mine rehabilitation program of Antamok.
On the other hand, Itogon shall deliver and dispose exclusively in the Antamok project all of the municipal solid waste generated and collected by the communities once the engineered sanitary landfill is ready for operation following receipt of written notice from Groldrich and issue the endorsement necessary for the implementation, operation and maintenance of the Antamok project.
Itogon is also mandated to encourage the maintenance of public assistance and support for the Antamok project and undertake to handle and intervene in community issues or opposition covering the project as well as assist Goldrich for the timely securing, maintenance and renewal of its relevant local business permits, licenses, authorizations and clearances for the continued operations of the project and its related facilities, provided that, Goldrich shall have complied with all material requirements.
For purposes of operating the temporary storage facility, Itogon shall serve all necessary permits from the Environmental Management Bureau and other government agencies.
Pursuant to the agreement, Goldrich is obliged to arrange financing for the Antamok project, plan, develop, design, build, test, and commission the project, implement the project and its related facilities after having complied with all material requirements.
Further, the developer shall manage, use, occupy, operate, repair and maintain all the facilities within the landfill project, secure in its own name, the required permits, licenses, and endorsement required for the implementation, operation and maintenance of the project, deliver to BC its share from the proceeds of the energy generated by the project and shall hold BC free and harmless from all kinds of claims for damages arising from or caused by the fault or negligence of the company, its employees or authorized representatives in relation to the implementation of the project.
For the City Government of Baguio, it is obliged to deliver and exclusively dispose in the Antamok project at least 300 tons of its waste generated and collected within its territorial jurisdiction once the sanitary landfill aspect of the project is ready for operation and shall pay tipping fees in an amount to be agreed upon by both parties
BC plans to convert and develop its Antamok properties into an engineered sanitary landfill project with a waste-to-energy component, thus, it entered into an agreement with Goldrich whereby the latter was given the exclusive right to conduct feasibility and related studies for the development of the Antamok properties in the solid waste disposal facility.
BC stated the Antamok project is the mine rehabilitation plan to be implemented in the affected areas under the final mine rehabilitation and decommissioning plan approved by the MGB.
More importantly, BC claimed once implemented, the Atamok project will effectively and efficiently address the solid waste management of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area pursuant to the provisions of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and that the project is imbued with public interest.
The proposed facilities for the project will cover a portion of BC’s 60-hectare property to be used for the proposed engineered sanitary landfill and waste-to-energy plants.
By Dexter A. See