Inauguration of Asia’s biggest mine refinery Sept. 4

By Eugenio Lira, Jr.

SURIGAO CITY— The inauguration of Asia’s biggest mine refinery owned by THPAL Nickel Corporation will take place on Wednesday, September 4, 2013, and will be attended by Japanese dignitaries and investors including national and local officials. This was revealed by second district Representative Francisco Matugas as he stressed that the 1.6-billion dollar, or approximately 65-billion peso, processing facility is the biggest in Asia and would generate thousands of jobs for the Surigaonons.

Matugas, who is chairman of House committee on natural resources, said the inauguration will be held at the company’s plant site in Brgy. Taganito, Claver, Surigao Del Norte, where Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe will be joined by Senator Allan Peter Cayetano, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, Representative Ronaldo Zamora and other VIPs from Manila.

“This refinery mainly processes mine wastes, bought at 15 to 20 dollars per metric ton, to be supplied by Taganito Mining Corporation. It has the capability to process a minimum of 5 million metric tons per year and, out of this, nickel sulfide and cobalt sulfide could be produced which will then be transported to Japan for another refinery processing. Just imagine, what used to be a ‘basura’ (waste) could really be turned into money. There is really truth in the saying “may pera sa basura”,” Matugas said.

He said THPAL, which is partly owned by Sumitomo Metal Mining Company Ltd. (70 percent) and by Nickel Asia Corporation of the Zamora Group of Companies (22 percent), has built a P400-million private port capable of accommodating foreign cargo vessels with gross registered tonnage (GRT) of up to 40,000.

“On job opportunities, THPAL management would employ 500 regular employees and 2,000 contractual employees and has committed itself to allocate the majority of its workforce for Surigaonon workers. Economy-wise, downstream businesses in refining and distribution will surely flourish alongside businesses in food, recreation, transportation and the like. All these will certainly translate to hundreds of additional jobs,” Matugas added.

The lawmaker said that a 300-man Japanese investors delegation will be arriving on THPAL’s inauguration.

Provincial and local officials headed by Governor Sol Matugas, together with Rep. Francisco Matugas, first district Rep. Guillermo Romarate, Jr., Vice-Gov. Carlos Egay, Jr., Board Member and environment committee chairman Simeon Castrence, Claver Mayor Eddie Gokiangkee and Mayors' League president Bacuag Mayor Shiela May Orquina-Cebedo, will be attending the event where they will be joined by Caraga Tri-Media President Roberto Parada, Jr., it was learned.

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