DAVAO — After extensive research and development, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has come up with an environment friendly process for extracting gold and copper without the use of toxic chemicals like mercury and cyanide.
This technology uses the so-called ?enhanced gravity concentration-flotation-extraction? process and uses an integrated tailings disposal and treatment system. This method assures that waste materials that are disposed in the environment are safe and considered as non-pollutant.
The program was jointly undertaken by DOST and the University of the Philippines Diliman-Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (UPDMMME).
The other benefit of the method, aside from being safe and eco-friendly, is the economic factor that will increase the income of small-scale miners. The process allows for an 85- to 90-percent recovery rate of gold and other valuable minerals like copper and zinc compared with only 40 percent using the old or traditional method.
The breakthrough technology will benefit thousands of small-scale miners in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley who rely on copper and gold mining as their sole source of livelihood.
?This innovation that the DOST has developed will bring more benefits for our more than 300,000 small-scale miners all over the country because it poses no threat to their safety and to the environment as well because it does not use harmful chemicals like mercury and cyanide,? stated DOST secretary Mario G. Montejo.
On March 15, 2016, the DOST together with government officials of Compostela Valley led the groundbreaking ceremony of the Field Testing of the Integrated Gold-Copper Mineral Processing Pilot Plant in Barangay Katipunan, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.
?We consider this as a milestone for the small-scale miners of Nabunturan, Compostela Valley because this new technology for sustainable mining will surely benefit them in terms of increased income and protection of their natural resources; thereby proving to all that science and technology can improve the quality of life of our people in the countryside,? said Montejo.
The green mining technology developed after five years of research and field testing by scientists from the UPDMMME is considered pro-poor, pro-environment and most of all pro-Filipino.
?We need to use science and technology to be at par with the ASEAN for economic and sustainable development and our small miners are targeted to be part of inclusive growth, para umangat ang kabuhayan,? said DOST usec. Rowena Guevara.
Similar testing plants have already been set up in other areas where gold, copper and zinc are abundant like in Barangay Gumatdang, Itogon, Benguet; Paracale in Bicol Region and in Barangay Del Pilar, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte in the Caraga Region.