Small-scale miners to benefit from DOST’s cyanide-free mining technology

After extensive research and development,the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has come up with an environment friendly process for extracting gold and copper sans the use of toxic chemicals like mercury and cyanide.

This technology uses the so-called “enhanced gravity concentration-flotation-extraction” process and uses an integrated tailings disposal and treatment system. This method assures that waste materials that are disposed in the environment are safe and considered as non-pollutant.

This program was jointly undertaken by DOST and the University of the Philippines Diliman-Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (UPDMMME).

The other benefit of this method, aside from being safe and eco-friendly, is the economic factor that will spruce up the small-scale miners’ income potential. The process allows for an 85–90 percent recovery rate of gold and other valuable minerals like copper and zinc compared with only 40 percent using the old or traditional method.

This breakthrough technology will benefit thousands of small-scale miners in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley who rely on copper and gold mining as their sole source of livelihood. The technology introduced by the DOST is believed to be economically viable, safe, and sustainable, thus ensuring the miners with steady income while protecting the environment from hazardous wastes from mine tailings.

“This innovation that the DOST has developed will bring more benefits for our more than 300,000 small-scale miners all over the country because it poses no threat to their safety and to the environment as well because it does not use harmful chemicals like mercury and cyanide,” stated DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo.

Last March 15, the DOST together with government officials of Compostela Valley led the groundbreaking ceremony of the Field Testing of the Integrated Gold-Copper Mineral Processing Pilot Plant in Barangay Katipunan, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.

In attendance were Compostela Valley Vice Governor and former Congressman Manuel E. “Way Kurat” Zamora representing ComVal Governor Arturo T. Uy and DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara representing Secretary Montejo. Other local leaders and DOST officials present were Antonio Beda Tullo representing Nabunturan Mayor Romeo C. Clarin, Katipunan Barangay Captain Paz B. Maglangit, DOST Region 11 Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales, Program Leader Dr. Herman D. Mendoza, Jose A. Anayo, Jr. of the Nabunturan Integrated Mining Development Cooperative, Dr. Jonathan Bayogan of the Compostela Valley State College, and Aniceto Bolifer, the landowner.

“We consider this as a milestone for the small-scale miners of Nabunturan, Compostela Valley because this new technology for sustainable mining will surely benefit them in terms of increased income and protection of their natural resources; thereby proving to all that science and technology can improve the quality of life of our people in the countryside,” said Montejo.

This green mining technology developed after five years of research and field testing by scientists from the UPDMMME is considered pro-poor, pro-environment and most of all pro-Filipino.

“We need to use science and technology to be at par with the ASEAN for economic and sustainable development and our small miners are targeted to be part of inclusive growth, para umangat ang kabuhayan,” said Usec. Guevara.

Similar testing plants have already been set up in other areas where gold, copper and zinc are abundant like in Barangay Gumatdang, Itogon, Benguet; Paracale in Bicol Region and in Barangay Del Pilar, Cabadbaran City,Agusan del Norte in the CARAGA Region. (PNA)


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