Issue of November 4, 2018

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Itogon miners given 30 days to mill ores
by Ofelia C. Empian

Small-scale miners in the Cordillera were given 30 days to process their mineral ores from Nov. 1 to 30, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera.

MGB-Cordillera Director Fay Apil said the temporary processor’s permit is in response to the clamor of small-scale miners, particularly in Itogon, Benguet, to process their ore stockpiles.

“They were given 30 days to process their ore stockpiles; the ores must be stockpiled before the operation of the Task Force Itogon,” Apil said, referring to the crackdown operation against illegal mining of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 

“After 30 days, stop muna sila, then they can apply for an extension kung marami pa. It would be on acase to case basis kasi hindi naman lahat kailangan ng extension,” she said. 

In Benguet, 49 organizations and individual small-scale miners were given temporary processor’s permit by the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board. There are 32 organizations and individuals from Itogon, nine in Mankayan, five in Tuba, two in Bakun, and one in Bokod.

The miners signed the permit containing nine terms and conditions for them to comply. The terms include that processing should be limited to ball mill and sluicing activities only, meaning no carbon-in-pulp or carbon-in-leach processing allowed and the permit holder shall sell their gold products to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.  

“The permit holder shall effectively use the best available appropriate anti-pollution technology and facilities to protect the environment; processed tails shall be properly contained and not be indiscriminately discharged to the creeks and/or river streams,” the terms stated.

The permit holder must also make records of the processing activities, which shall be open at all times for verification by the PMRB or its authorized representatives. The PMRB can revoke or suspend the permit if the miners failed to comply the terms and conditions.

Apil said they have also asked the help of the Philippine National Police in monitoring the compliance of the various small-scale miners.  

As for the earlier 80-hectare minahang bayan identified in Itogon, she said the PMRB, in which she co-chairs together with the Benguet governor, already went through the application process.

“We will forward it to the secretary (Roy Cimatu) for clearance,” said Apil.

She said the DENR secretary would be the one to declare the area a minahang bayan after evaluation.

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