BENGUET, Philippines –The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has launched a mineral processing technology that seeks to provide a better recovery rate for small-scale mining communities in Benguet without harming the environment.
The DOST pilot-tested the mining technology called “flotation” in Gumatdang, Itogon on Friday, February 27.
The technology will be housed in a facility to be constructed with an initial funding of P36 million ($816,400) from the DOST, including equipment needed by experts to train the community beneficiaries.
DOST Regional Director Julius Caesar Sicat said in an interview that the project is in partnership with the University of the Philippines Diliman and Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research Development (PCIERD).
Dr Herman Mendoza, UP project head, said the technology can “environmentally optimize” the recovery of gold and other metals by using gravity concentration and floatation, refining gold concentrates, and application of integrated disposal and treatment of tailing materials.
“This is a simple technology wherein by using the physical property of gold, we can improve the recovery of gold by 80 to 90%. We can also reduce the hazard as the processing will be without sanitation or amalgamation,” he said.
Mendoza added, “Our vision is to promote a responsible small-scale mining industry that uses the country’s mineral resources while providing economic stability and ensuring environmental sustainability.” (READ: Small-scale mining: A 3-decade industry that kills)
Sicat said the technology has a capacity to process only 5 tons of gold ore per day, but it would be a good start for the community to learn and shift into safer means of processing.
“The project, which is the first in the Philippines, aims to solve the long-time mining problem on the use of cyanide and mercury that leads to poisoning,” Sicat said.
He hopes that with the technology, small-scale miners can improve the recovery of gold and copper for a better mining environment.
The DOST tapped the Benguet Federation of Small-scale Miners as the lead organization to run the facility.
After Benguet, the DOST will introduce the technology to small-scale miners in Bicol and Caraga regions. – Rappler.com
US$1 = P44