Fifty employees and friends of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 planted 200 tree seedlings in the buffer zone of the Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc. (TCPI) compound in San Fernando, Cebu.

The agency’s delegation concluded their recent celebration of the Philippine Environment Month by planting 180 jackfruit and 20 guyabano and custard apple seedlings.

TCPI materials supplier Solid Earth Development Corp. (SEDC) gave the group a tour at its limestone quarry in the hills behind the TCPI plant, and shared how it operated with prime regard to the environment.

Joel Sombelon, safety and environment officer of SEDC, said their firm operates quarries for clay in the town’s hinterlands. He further said several mined-out areas are now pocket forests after rehabilitation.

“This is the time of the year where we engage with a compliant mining company to help us educate the public about responsible mining,” said MGB 7 Director Loreto B. Alburo in his request to visit TCPI and SEDC.

The allied companies gave the delegation that included employees of Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7 and other national government agencies an interactive presentation and discussion on responsible mining and social development.

SEDC president Dennis Tenefrancia said the company allocated a budget for activities to protect the environment, develop the community and the local economy.

“SEDC is one of the most compliant mining companies that adheres to RA (Republic Act) 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995,” he said. “SEDC is committed to rehabilitating mined-out areas through tree planting and other related activities.”

Since operating in the early 1990s, the company has converted mined-out areas into pocket forests, including the St. Augustine Eco-Pilgrimage Park in Barangay Magsico that was opened and blessed by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma last March 21.

“Hard work, sacrifices, commitment to excellence and perseverance to achieve our goal with a long-term commitment to environment interactions and social concerns have been our contributions to the community,” Tenefrancia said.

MGB 7 mining chief Armando Malicse said business and economic endeavors must be pursued in harmony with nature and society, adding that is SEDC’s corporate responsibility to nurture mining areas.