ALTERNATIVE Non-toxic mining processing starts in Nabunturan

A mineral processing pilot plant that will not use hazardous materials was officially turned over to the small scare miners of Nabunturan in Compostela Valley on Friday.

The Community Led Integrated Non-Cyanide Non-Mercury Gold Extraction (CLINN-GEM) Project, located at Barangay Katipunan, is a project initiated by the University of the Philippines – Depatment of Mining, Mettlurgical, and Materials Engineering, in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology XI (DOST-XI).

The DOST-funded project will serve as an innovative alternative process for recovering gold and copper minerals without the use of mercury and cyanide, and the application of a tailing facility, with a designed capacity of 5-15 metric tons per day.

Dr. Herman Mendoza, UP Diliman Program Leader, said that the Field Testing Project’s primary objective is to help the small-scale mining communities of Compostela Valley through the introduction of the developed innovative mineral processing method and to contribute to national development.

He said that the most crucial components of the project is the capacity building program which aims to address knowledge, skills and attitude gaps in learning and identify capacities needs of the stakeholders in the gold production process.

“We started conceptualizing the project since 2008, wherein we go around the Philippines and look into the situation of the small scale mining communities,” Mendoza said during the turnover ceremony.

He said that the usage of hazardous chemicals in extracting minerals had affected the health of the miners.

This practice, according to Mendoza, had also been a long-time struggle internationally.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) had been urging for the end of the usage of cyanide and mercury, for it is not only hazardous to humans, but also to the environment.

Eugene Alaba, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer and proxy of ComVal Governor Jayvee Uy, said that are hoping that the introduced facility benefit the province, especially that it will transition to Davao de Oro by 2019.

“We hope and pray that this will serve as a catalyst for a paradigm shift for the small scale miners and to the people of ComVal,” Alaba said.

Eulogio Aguilo, Jr. is also thankful for choosing Brgy. Katipunan as the pilot area for the said project.

“We hope that this technology would also be introduced to other mining areas in the country,” Aguilo said.