Diliman, Quezon City - The Metallurgical Technology Division (MeTD) of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) beefed up its campaign to assist small-scale miners especially in the field of mineral processing and extractive metallurgy of gold. The project is aligned with the passage of the revised Implementing Rules and Regulation of Republic Act 7076 otherwise known as People’s Small-Scale Mining Act, wherein the establishments of centralized custom mills within Minahan ng Bayan areas are required. With this, MeTD’s role is to assist the processors in the design and construction of  modular gold cyanidation plants including tailings detoxification and storage facilities.

Given the task at hand, MeTD have taken the initial steps thru Information and Education Campaign.  On March 18-20, 2015, MeTD sent Engr. Bernardo V. Bitanga as a technical resource person on extraction and recovery of precious metals during a seminar entitled, “Training on Gold Ore Extraction and Processing for Masabong Village Small-Scale Mining Association (MAVISSMA)” in Sitio Masabong, Brgy. Bayugan 3, Rosario, Agusan del Sur. During the said event, Engr. Bitanga presented several simplified topics to “laymanize” the complex scientific techniques into something than an ordinary small-scale mining practitioner can understand. The scope of the latter focused on the establishment of an environmentally-compliant and economically-sound custom mill in preparation for the creation of a Minahan ng Bayan in the area. The activity which was sponsored by MGB – Regional Office No XIII is also aligned with Executive Order No. 79 (EO 79), specifying the need for “training and capacity building measures in the form of technical assistance for small-scale mining cooperatives” as stated in Section 11 of the said mandate.

The use of mercury (i.e., amalgamation) in mineral processing is totally banned by the EO 79. Although there are promising results of recently concluded researches on alternative methods to amalgamation, some studies only produced high value gravity concentrates which, presently, are neither marketable nor smeltable.  Continuing studies/researches are still being conducted to extract the gold from the concentrates and produce marketable gold dore or bullion.  Meanwhile, modular gold cyanidation plants (custom mills) with appropriate environmental protection components can be established to help the small scale industry.  

By: Metallurgical Technology Division

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