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Some of the environmental programs are the water quality and mine

rehabilitation. The first is water quality. In an operation like Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp.
(RTNMC), siltation can be an issue. To address this, all around the mine site have siltation
ponds that are meant to catch all run-off water from the mine and large enough to allow
silt to settle and clear water to run off. In this way rivers and streams and coastline remain
silt-free, and RTNMC comply with the standards for Total Suspended Solids that we have
in our country. The other area of focus is mine rehabilitation and this is an area where
RTNMC has over the years become a model.

Bibano P. Ranes, a consultant on mine rehabilitation of RTNMC, said the company


implements an integrated rehabilitation approach. He said site-preparation costs in the
mined-out area alone costs the company around P1million per hectare. Ranes said that
the they implement an agro-aqua-forestry farming system. In executing this, the
rehabilitation involves soil amelioration to improve the soil’s fertility, the use of large
planting materials and use of assorted native tree species. A mined-out area is first re-
contoured, back filled to some extent, laid with top soil that was removed, before being
planted to indigenous hardwood and fruit trees. They used large planting materials for
high survival rate and native species for biodiversity conservation. The trees, high-value
crops and vegetables grown were organically-grown and have been tested to be safe
for human consumption by an accredited research laboratory. They have rehabilitated
over one-thirds (1/3) of mining claim and have planted over 1.5 million trees, both within
and outside their mining area.
SOIL AMELIORATION

Replace soils require both physical and chemical amelioration. From the physical
perspective, this is because the actions of soil removal, stockpiling and replacement
result in high levels of soil compaction. from the chemical perspective, the stripping of
the top soil in a single layer results in the dilution of the fertility that is concentrated in the
surface, few millimeters throughout the underlying 300-400mm of relatively impoverished
material.

o Deposited soils must be ripped to ensure compaction is reduced


 Correct soil moisture content for maximum disturbance must be established
 Ripping must penetrate through soil into the underlying overburden
materials
 Acceptable soil bulk density values must be determined and progress
monitored against target
o Surface tillage should produce an acceptable seedbed for the vegetation to be
established
o Soil fertility should be restored
 Soils should be analyzed for plant nutrient content
 Fertilizer should be applied to raise soil nutrient content to the desired levels
 Rates of fertilizer to be applied frequently exceed normal agricultural
dressings
o Immobile fertilizers should be incorporated into the plant rooting zone
o Maintenance dressings of fertilizer should be applied annually until the soil fertility
cycle is restored.