OceanaGold is committed to making a positive contribution to communities that host its business activities. This includes the OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (OGPI) scholarship program – which has grown over time and in 2019 supported 85 scholars at universities across the Philippines in 2019.
Oliver Donato is one of the OGPI scholarship recipients. Oliver originally wanted to be a computer engineer, but due to limited financial resources, he had to stop attending school for six years. Things turned around for him when OceanaGold commenced operations and provided scholarships to the community.
As an OceanaGold scholar, Oliver studied Environmental Science at the Nueva Vizcaya State University, graduating to become an Environmental Assistant at the Didipio Mine, where he was focused on minimising raw water use. Today, as the Didipio Mine’s Environmental Compliance Supervisor, Oliver oversees the mine’s Environment Management System to optimise water management on site. Oliver also oversaw Didipio Mine’s ISO14001 recertification process.
In 2019, Oliver won the Outstanding Pollution Control Officer (TOPCO) of Pollution Control Association of the Philippines Inc. (PCAPI)’s 39th general assembly. He was the first local from the Nueva Vizcaya province to win the award. In his award speech, he explained how he keeps Didipio Mine’s water pollution free with the mine’s water treatment plant.
“OceanaGold operates a water treatment plant that recycles water from the tailings storage facility and pumps it back to the processing plant for reuse. This means we can recycle between 80-90% of the water we use,” Oliver said.
Working for OceanaGold has widened my perspective on mining and mining technologies. From elementary to high school, we were taught that mining is destructive, and just because I’m employed here doesn’t mean I’m automatically for large-scale mining. However, with OceanaGold, I learned that we could mine without destroying the environment, by being compliant to local and international regulations,” he said.
What Oliver ultimately wants to do is give back to his community and for other people to benefit from the same opportunities that he received. He helps new Didipio Mine scholars to make their way to college.
“Apart from environmental compliance, I want Didipio Mine’s social development and management, and corporate social responsibility projects to be sustainable. The actual sustainability would depend on the community residents who are the recipients of these projects, on how they make use of the projects,” he said.
Image: Oliver Donato at the Pollution Control Association of the Philippines Inc. (PCAPI)’s 39th general assembly.