Mines bureau, planetGOLD plan mercury-free processing center


THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and planetGOLD Philippines said they are collaborating to establish a Mercury Free Processing System (MFPS) in Paracale, Camarines Norte, targeted for use by small-scale miners.

Intended users are small-scale miners (SSMs) prospecting for gold in a 26.5-hectare Minahang Bayan site in Sitio Maning in the Paracale barangay of Casalugan.

“This is in response to the various requirements for the construction and installation of the MFPS facility such as the building permit, and one of the requirements for the building permit is the conduct of community consultation,” the MGB said in a statement.

MGB and planetGOLD, which focuses on artisanal miners, said they organized a presentation to members of the community on the harmful effects of mercury used in processing ore, and on the details of the proposed facility, including safety protocols on the use of chemicals and tailings management.

“This facility is an alternative to the traditional amalgamation process employed by the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector in the province. Through this facility, planetGOLD Philippines hopes to reduce the devastating effects of traditional ASGM practices which destroy the environment and introduce adverse health impacts,” it added.

“In Paracale, mercury has been used for decades as an inexpensive and easy way to collect gold despite its harmful effects, not only to the miners but also to their communities, and environment,” the MGB said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson