On March 19, 1982, the Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDC) was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 786 entitled “ Creating the Natural Resources Development Corporation, Defining its Functions, Powers and Responsibilities and for Other Purposes”. Initially, its activities were limited to the development of the Ilocos Pig Iron Smelting Project and its support to fuel wood plantation.
In 1987, the corporate thrust was expanded by virtue of Executive Order No. 192 to include projects in the forestry sector such as stumpage sale and forest community logging operations; in the mineral sector, projects such as gold recovery plant for small scale miners in Davao and mineral laboratory services to serve a specific United Nation-funded project in Surigao.
NRDC shifted its priorities from utilization of forest resources to that of conservation and reforestation. The NRDC managed and operated contract reforestation projects in Sual, Pangasinan, managed and developed a mineral reserve in Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte with minor activities in exploration drilling and mineral marketing.
With the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1999, the NRDC included projects from the environmental sector such as: the Coconut Methyl Ether (CME) also known as biodiesel, an additive to diesel fuel for improvement of engine performance and minimization of air pollution emission; the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center ( PWRCC); the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Review Fund Management Project and the Environmental Training Project.
At present, NRDC is planning to shift from highly localized projects with limited bearing to the national development agenda to programs which would have greater impact on the overall economic development effort of the government. Currently, the Industrial Hazardous Waste Management Project (Model Integrated Facility) is being negotiated with the funding agencies. Other projects included in the pipeline are: Solid Waste and Final Disposal Facility Complex Project, Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Management Project, NRDC-SBMA Zoo Project, and Diesel Engine Replacement Project.