Taganito Mining Corp. (TMC) has launched “DiSCUBA,” a program that aims to get more people in the mining community of Claver and adjacent towns in Surigao del Norte to experience and appreciate diving.
Diving has been considered a sport for the elite due to the expenses for a single dive plus the cost of travel to dive spots.
TMC, a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), has a different objective for introducing the sport -- to invite more people to become environment warriors and protectors of the environment, especially of the marine resources around the mine site.
Agapito S. Cuadra, Jr., a marine biologist and TMC’s Coastal Resource Management Specialist, says part of his job is to research on the characteristics of marine landscapes and help design programs for environment enhancement and protection.
“I have seen many dive spots, in and out of protected areas, near and far from mine sites, and the learnings are the same, that if we do not introduce structured protection programs, these dive spots will be endangered,” explains Cuadra.
But, Cuadra says, seeing is believing. Thus, DiSCUBA, a portmanteau of Discover and Scuba, was launched to bring more people to see the underwater beauty around the mine site.
“The pilot program will first have TMC employees as participants – two per department – each of whom will go through a medical check-up and thorough orientation before the actual dive. And as soon as necessary clearances are in, we will open it to the community hopefully by January,” Cuadra details.
TMC is the first mining company to have this kind of program and Engr. Artemio E. Valeroso, Resident Mine Manager, is proud and excited by it.
“Our challenge has always been to make more people appreciate what we do as a responsible mining company and what it means that as miners, we are also environment protectors and we are environment warriors,” said Valeroso.
He is confident that once people experience actual diving, there will be many more to link arms with TMC in its campaign to protect and enhance the environment.
As a dive master, Cuadra explains why TMC is proud of a dive spot the mining company has adopted – the Malingin islet, some 791 meters from the wharf of TMC and about 1,234 meters or 1.2km from the mouth of Taganito river.
“The beauty of the natural corals around the dive spot in Malingin, right in front of the mine site, is proof that responsible mining and the sport of diving can co-exist,” declares Cuadra.
Cuadra shares that the cost of a basic dive in a commercial setting starts at around P6,500 so he believes that the success of DiSCUBA is a matter of commitment from TMC.
“First off, DiSCUBA is possible because TMC has a dive master like me, which is a strict requirement in diving. The use of the equipment, the orientation and snacks, and the dive certificate to be given to participants, are courtesy of TMC,” Cuadra shared.
Owing to strict health protocols due to the pandemic, participants will be limited, and dive suits will not be shared and will be disinfected for seven days before it can be used again.
“Diving makes one feel part of a much wider, much grander, world and I believe after a dive, everyone will want to be part of TMC’s campaign to convert everyone to become environment warriors,” Cuadra said.
TMC’s mine site is located in barangays Cagdianao, Hayanggabon, Taganito and Urbiztondo, municipality of Claver, province of Surigao del Norte. Its area of operations is within the Surigao Mineral Reservation.
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