Benguet to pilot new gold processing technology

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet– Some 25,000 small-scale miners in the different parts of this mineral-rich province are set to have a greater recovery of gold from the ores they are digging up and help promote environmentally-friendly pocket mining following the expected pilot testing of a new multi-million technology developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to help improve the state of artisan mining in the country, Dr. Julius Caesar V. Sicat, DOST-CAR regional director, said here.
Sicat bared that in partnership with the University of the Philippines – Diliman and Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research Development, they will be piloting in Cordillera, particularly in Itogon, Benguet, the field-testing of the Integrated Gold-Copper Mineral Processing Plant which guarantees increased recovery of gold from the ores being recovered by the small-scale miners underground.
“This project which is the first in the Philippines aims to solve the long-time mining problem, which is the use of cyanide and mercury that leads to incidents of poisoning. With the technology developed by UP Diliman, small-scale miners can improve the recovery of gold and we can have a better mining environment,” Sicat stressed.
UP-Diliman Project Head, Dr. Herman Mendoza, in the same forum, disclosed that the technology they developed 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 percent. We can also reduce the hazard as the processing will be without sanitation or amalgamation,” he said.
“Our vision here is to promote a responsible small-scale mining industry that utilizes the country’s mineral resources while providing economic stability and ensuring environmental sustainability”, Mendoza added.
According to him, the current recovery of gold from the ore by small-scale miners is around 40 percent, thus, they are constrained to use mercury and cyanide in order to increase the gold and copper to be extracted from the ore.
Sicat said the DOST-CAR and its partners will be constructing the building that will house the equipment and machineries for the pilot testing and in order to orient small-scale miners on how to effectively and efficiently use the technology for their advantage, especially in their quest for increased recovery of the gold and copper and for increased income of the miners.
He said once the pilot testing of the technology will be successful in the province, the DOST will be mandating the use of their newly developed equipment and machinery in different small-scale mining sites in the country like the CARAGA and Bicol regions.
Sicat appealed to small-scale miners in the province to patronize the use of the integrated gold and copper technology so that they will contribute in improving the state of the small-scale mining industry and contribute in helping clean the environment from hazardous chemicals like mercury.

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