Cimatu lauds roll out of big brother, small brother partnership


ITOGON, Benguet – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu hailed the Apex Mining Company, Inc. (AMCI) and its subsidiary, the Itogon Suyoc Resources, Inc. (ISRI), for leading the way in the roll out of the big brother, small brother concept to establish a harmonious working relationship between large-scale mining companies and the small-scale miners in the locality.

In his virtual message to the Itogon municipal officials, Apex and ISRI executives and small-scale miners during the recent signing of the memorandum of agreement for the aforesaid partnership, Secretary Cimatu stated that the big brother, small brother concept in the country’s mining industry is geared towards enhancing the welfare of the mining industry stakeholders, addressing the safety and regulatory issues besetting the pocket mining industry and allowing the common success of both the large-scale and small-scale mining industries.

He claimed that he heard about the big brother, small brother concept from Dr. Walter Brown, one of the well-respected leaders in the country’s mining industry, years ago and he was more elated to learn that the same is now being executed by PMCI and ISRI president and chief executive officer Louie Sarmiento.

The environment official also commended the 5 small-scale mining associations for signifying their intention to actively participate in the implementation of the big brother, small brother concept where initially, the Dalicno small-scale mining association which has 8 sub-groups will be pilot testing the same in the mineral-rich town.

According to him, he took time to join the formal launching of the big brother, small; brother concept because he believes in what AMCI and ISRI is doing to advance the state of both the large-scale and small-scale mining industries for the benefit of the concerned industry stakeholders.

Secretary Cimatu disclosed that the recent signing of the agreement for the pilot testing of the big brother, small brother concept is the first formal program for the same in the country’s mining industry.

He pointed out that a big brother will not let his small brother down and vice versa for them to have a common success in the mining industry.

“We wish everyo9ne the best of luck. We cannot afford to fail in this kind of endeavor. We must succeed,” Secretary Cimatu stressed.

For his part, Sarmiento emphasized that ISRI is now a big brother to the Dalicno small-scale miners association, a group that belies in the same things as the company does, espouses the same principles as AMCI and ISRI and understands the very important role of sustainable mining in the country.

He asserted that ISRI’s role is to enable the economic upliftment of its neighbors in the best possible way the company knows how through mining operations that are not just legally compliant but sustainable as well.

Sarmiento assured that the promise for a more sustainable future for the small-scale miners in Itogon and Mankayan is slowly becoming a reality. And that he expressed the company’s gratitude to the Dalicno small-scale miners association for trusting ISRI on the big brother, small brother partnership as the company will not let the group down.

“We cannot wait to see the many good things that we will be doing together,” Sarmiento exclaimed.

AMCI started the big brother, small brother partnership in its mine in Macu, Davao de Oro and that its success helped provide a new face for small-scale mining in the area, thus, the company wants to replicate the success of the partnership in Benguet to help in changing people’s lives, especially those who were heavily impacted by the temporary suspension of small-scale mining in the Cordillera for over two years now.

The AMCI and ISRI executive explained that the company will continue to be aggressive in enhancing the partnership with the small-scale miners in the area to ensure that the issues and concerns confronting the industry will be addressed, especially their compliance to the safety standards prescribed under existing laws, rules and regulations. By HENT