When Filminera took over the mining site in Aroroy from Atlas Mining during the 1990s, several local families had been living in poverty and were jobless following the closure of operations in 1994. A few had resorted to searching for gold in the abandoned mines in an attempt to provide food and income for their families.
The local government had an official meeting with the townsfolk and local entrepreneurs to get feedback on the entry of Filminera and the resumption of mining activities in Aroroy. The town quickly gave its full approval, but it took more than a decade for Filminera to obtain the necessary permits and become fully operational due to the country’s new and stricter mining laws.
US$ 250 million was invested in the project – the biggest single investment in Masbate Island in 1990. Life in Masbate is now easier, and people are more optimistic and reaping the benefits, particularly with steady employment. Approximately 80 percent of the total employees are native of this province.
Aroroy has become Masbate’s boom town. Because of the taxes it earns from Filminera and Phil. Gold, the local government has been given the means to improve infrastructure and make the town environment generally more pleasurable to live in. This previously sleepy fourth-class municipality has proudly gone first-class – and is the only first-class municipality on the island of Masbate, excluding Masbate City.
It’s not only the employees who enjoy the fruits of MGP’s “gold rush.” Several local entrepreneurs are benefitting from contracts with Filminera and Phil. Gold. These include suppliers of food, linen, cutlery, construction materials, and van rentals. The rented vans are crucial as they provide convenient mobility to staff and guests, especially when it comes to airport transfers.