LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Thousands of pocket miners in the different mineral-rich communities in the province were given a final chance to process their extracted ore until the end of this month after the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) granted the petition of numerous small-scale mining associations for them to be given sufficient time to gain from their stockpiled ores.
PMRB chairperson Cordillera Office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-CAR) regional director Engr. Fay W. Apil pointed out that grant of the request of small-scale mining associations for another extension of time for them to process their stockpiled ore will be the final extension that will be given to the pocket miners to maximize their benefits from their extracted ores.
“It will be definitely the final extension that will be granted to our pocket miners. We will no longer grant another extension to process their stockpiled ores. They will have to find ways and means on how to complete the processing of their available ores on or before the end of this month,” Apil stressed.
The MGB-CAR official claimed that the conditions for the extension to process other ores will be similar to the earlier conditions prescribed when the temporary processing permit was issued to them wherein the processing will be done through ball mill and sluicing only and that the use of chemicals will strictly be prohibited, thus, carbon in palp (CIP) and carbon in glitch (CIL) processes are strictly not allowed.
Apil disclosed the PMRB allowed the pocket miners to have their stockpiled ores processed by the large-scale mining companies operating in the province, provided that, they will secure an ore transport permit from concerned authorities to legitimize the transport of their ores to the processing areas of the companies.
Earlier, the PMRB initially granted a month-long period from November 1-30, 2018 for thousands of pocket miners to process their stockpiled ore after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the suspension of all small-scale mining operations in the Cordillera following the tragic landslide incident at sitio 070, Ucab, Itogon, Benguet at the height of Supertyphoon Ompong.
Apil urged all pocket miners to exert extra effort in ensuring the processing of their stockpiled ore until the end of the month because the granted extension will be the final one that will be granted to them so that the PMRB will be able to focus on other aspects of mining, especially the processing of the declaration of Minahang Bayan sites in the different parts of Benguet to legitimize the existence of small-scale mining activities.
Dozens of small-scale mining associations in mineral-producing towns, specifically in Itogon, Tuba, Tublay, Atok, Bakun, Mankayan and Kabayan petitioned the PMRB to extend the one month period that it granted to them to process their stockpiled ore because they were not able to process their extracted ore for them to have sufficient income to attend to the needs of their families while they are looking for alternative sources of income that will sustain the living condition of their families.