Masbate Gold firms restore coral reefs, create new fishing and diving sites

Published January 23, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

Two major mining firms that comprise the Masbate Gold Project (MGP), have begun installing 400 to 800 reef balls in a fishing and mining town in Masbate, in a bid to help regenerate new reef covers. The coral reefs had had been severely damaged by past destructive and illegal fishing activities in the area.

MGP member-firms Filminera Resources Corp. and Phil. Gold Processing & Refining Corp. disclosed that they installed reef balls in Colorada Point in Barangay Tigbao, Aroroy in this southern province

Recently, the Colorada Point was declared a marine protected area with MGP as its main driver.

A reef ball is an innovatively designed artificial reef with holes that create whirlpools around it. It is placed under water to restore ailing or destroyed coral reefs and to create new fishing and scuba diving sites.

The reef balls, used around the world, are made of a special, marine-friendly concrete and used to create habitats for fish as well as other marine and freshwater species. Reef balls are of varied sizes to best match the natural reef type.

Reef balls mimic nature and can be floated and towed behind boats of any size.

MGP has continued expanding the mangroves planting program to provide additional livelihood to the coastal community of Port Barrera.

This rehabilitation project is pursued by MGP in tandem with the US-based Reefball Foundation.

The Foundation is a publicly supported non-profit and international environmental NGO whose mission is to rehabilitate the world’s ocean reef ecosystems and protect the natural reef systems using artificial reef technologies.

Meanwhile, the Masbate Gold Project environment team also planted a total of 345 corals from December 19 to 21, 2017.

This is part of the MGP’s initiative for the Port Barrera Rehabilitation, which the company launched in partnership with the local government of Aroroy.

Upon invitation by Filiminera, Reefball Foundation consultations are training Filminera’s staff and local host communities in fabricating the reef balls.

With the new technology, fish and marine life will soon abound in the area, as this activity will run through 2018. The target is to deploy 400 to 800 reef balls and plant 20,000 corals.

MGP began its $250-million project in 2007 with the first gold pouring in 2009, making it the largest operating gold project in the country, and  the single biggest investment in Masbate. The project covers 13,000 hectares in the old mining town in Aroroy.

MGP Advisor Damien Tredwell stressed MGP’s commitment to the environment: “For as long as MGP is in Aroroy, we will continue the efforts in bringing Port Barrera back to its original vitality and health, before the destruction wrought by destructive and illegal fishing.”