Manila, Philippines – Ten rain gauges donated by Sagittarius Mines. Inc. (SMI) have been deployed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for its MarbelBanga Irrigation System (MBIS) in South Cotabato.
SMI made the donation on November 4 in response to a request by the NIA in Region 12 for the company to support its project to sustain water supply for the vast fertile valleys in South Cotabato.
Marbel and Banga are largely agricultural areas that depend on water from upstream and NIA is in dire need of manual rain gauges to measure just how much rainfall the valley has been getting.
SMI Corporate Communications Manager John B. Arnaldo said the mining company is concerned about the sustainability of water for farming and stressed that once its Tampakan Copper-Gold Project (TCGP) becomes operational, it would be engaged in storing excess water from seven river systems that have catchment areas in the uplands of Tampakan.
Engr. Orlando Tibang, chief of the MBIS, said he sought SMI’s help to secure the rain gauges that will monitor the volume of rainfall in the NIA service area of Marbel 1 and 2, as well as Banga RIS.
Arnaldo explained that SMI will eventually collect excess water from the uplands and would not interfere with the water ﬂow of the seven river systems that ﬂow into Marbel and Banga.
Tibang thanked SMI for the donation and said, “I believe SMI operation will happen, so it is better to be in partnership with the company in implementing responsible mining projects than allowing illegal mining activities in the area.”
SMI is working on TCGP, one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits, and is the contractor of the Philippine government under the terms of a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).
The project is a joint venture, managed by Xstrata Copper, with Australian company, Indophil Resources NL. Xstrata Copper is a business unit of Xstrata plc, a global diversiﬁed mining group that is internationally recognized as a sector leader in sustainability practices.
During the turnover rites attended by SMI hydrologist Anacleto Suelto Jr., envi-technician Marlon Ricalde, and SEP ofﬁcers Rudy Tuya and Jojo Ngitngit, Tibang expressed gratitude and appreciation to SMI for its sincerity in helping the irrigators.
Tibang commented that he would like to see structures put in place to protect against soil erosion, not only upstream but also in downstream areas.
Suelto said SMI is open to putting up additional structures if necessary. “SMI will continue to fulﬁll its commitment to maintain the baseline quality and quantity of water during and even after the lifetime of the mine,” he added.
The NIA will be responsible for the installation, operation, and maintenance of the rainfall monitoring devices. (Marvyn N. Benaning)