BAGUIO CITY – Benguet Corporation remains firm to maintain its partnership with the local governments of Itogon and Baguio City for the development of an integrated solid management system within portions of its Antamok open-pit site in Itogon town.
In his letter to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, BC Executive Director Isidro C. Alcantara, Jr. underscored the company’s awareness of the serious waste disposal issues that need to be addressed by both local governments for the benefit of the people.
On the part of the company, Alcantara stated that BC has set aside strategic parts of its titled lands in Antamok for the implementation of environmentally relevant and socially viable rehabilitation projects.
“We are in fact being asked by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the progress of the projects we intend to pursue under the rehabilitation plan we have submitted to them of which the temporary residual containment area, and the waste to energy plant are major components,” Alcantara stressed.
However, he admitted there were unavoidable delays at the start of the project, which BC and Goldrich Natural Resources Exploration and Development, Inc. (GNREDI) have been trying to resolve.
According to him, the memorandum of agreement signed last January 6, 2017 determined a 12-month period for Goldrich to conduct due diligence on the said project while the temporary residual containment area has been green-lighted, the waste-to-energy feasibility study continues to lag and keeping the timetable in mind, and in order to accelerate the project, the company is offering to invite technology providers to present to the technical assistance team with the view that the group can discuss, and decide which firm to partner with, as previously agreed with the members.
BC assured that it will relay all interests to Goldrich as the lead in the project based on the signed agreements, and one such technology provider is Manila Water Total Solutions, an Ayala company whose main strength is the operation of sustainable waste-to-energy projects.
He asserted that the details of the implementation of the temporary residual containment area and waste-to-energy project will be left to the decision of Goldrich, Itogon municipality and Baguio City.
Alcantara claimed BC is working out all possible means to remove legal obstacles in assigning and transferring to Goldrich some of the designated areas of the company’s patented lands, Antamok, Bonanza and Ema Fr. Otek, for the temporary residual containment area and waste-to-energy project. Company lawyers and financial advisers, among others, have recommended specific procedures for the resolution of the problems and the soonest that the solutions can be implemented by the company, the faster the project can move forward.
BC has proposed to Goldrich to accept a temporary arrangement where the company can turn over to them the possession and usufruct over the area so they can start the project. BC is willing to extend the due diligence period for the pursuit of the project.
By Dexter A. See