SIOCON, Zamboanga del Norte -- The afternoon sun casts its long shadow on Sta. Maria village here as Moarip Esnain Salvador watches the basketball tournament played up aggressively by the youth. He obviously enjoys watching the game while waiting for his containers to be filled up in nearby water tap stand.

Salvador, who is also the village chairperson, still finds time to fetch water for his family despite his busy schedule. But fetching water is not just another task for him. It has a special bond for him since the water system was established in his village.

Sta. Maria village, with over 4,000 population, did not have access to clean drinking water for 40 years until in 2008.

The village has suffered from poor infrastructure and lack of basic services.

“Life was hard before without clean water for the people in the village,” Salvador said, reminiscing life in the village 15 years ago.

The coastal village is located six kilometers away from the town’s center, an inlet zone of the town fronting Sulu Sea. Majority of the populace are Muslims, numbering around 3,000 of mixed Tausug and Kalibugan tribes, most of whom are engaged in fishing as their main livelihood.

The population welcomed the presence of TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) into their community when it started its operations 15 years ago.

The mining company, which operated a copper-zinc facility in the Subanen ancestral domain of Canatuan village northeast of Siocon, has a warehouse in Sta. Maria. The village’s lone port once served as a transshipment point for TVIRD’s copper concentrate exported to China.

Regarded as “Niño Bonito” (wonder boy) by his constituents, Salvador worked hard to get a water supply project and went to the company asking for help to solve their problem.

Together with his village councilors, Salvador facilitated the approval and establishment of the water supply project from TVIRD.

“The day the water started to flow out from the water taps, it was a feast. We were all very happy. I was the happiest one. I cried because I knew I’d done something right for the community,” Salvador recalled, pride was written all over his face.

At least 500 families benefitted from steady source of clean drinking water.

Today, the water system still served the community. It has become a living testimony of the benefits derived from the TVIRD’s operations.

The Canadian miner "has stopped milling operations at its Canatuan mine after having exhausted its remaining stockpile, pending the results of assessing various mine life extension and expansion opportunities."

TVI said at least one more shipment of copper concentrate will be scheduled in 2014.

The company said the reserves mined at Canatuan had significantly exceeded initial reserves.

Since the sulphide production plant at Canatuan was completed in November 2008, TVI has completed 38 shipments of copper concentrate for a total volume of 195,660 dmt and seven shipments of zinc concentrate for a total volume of 30,548 dmt, as compared to an initially anticipated 119,800 dmt of copper concentrate and 6,100 dmt of zinc concentrate.

The processing plant will be cleaned but equipment will not be dismantled as it looks forward to mine life extension and expansion opportunities. These opportunities include the possibility of processing mineralized waste dump material, new discoveries from exploration drill targets outside of the pit area, production of pyrite concentrates, re-processing of tails and exploitation of possible economic deposits from outside the current mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA).

But the good deeds extended by the company to the communities of Siocon town, especially Sta. Maria, are still fresh to them and “will not simply be forgotten.”

Salvador said they owed a lot to the company with the projects the village received. (SunStar Philippines)