ITOGON, Benguet– The Itogon Suyoc Resources, Inc. (ISRI) reported initial success in the ongoing implementation of the company’s big bother-small brother program to help provide sustainable sources of livelihood for pocket miners impacted by the suspension of small-scale mining activities in the Cordillera for over two years now.
In a letter to Director Fay W. Apil of the Cordillera office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, ISRI reported that an average of 36 ‘small’ brothers or pocket miners have already undergone safety orientation and training with the company providing them with personal protective equipment (PPEs) free of charge.
The pocket miners were trained by the company to use rock drill machine, unlike their usual chisel and hammer, to further improve their productivity in their underground activities.
The small-scale miners have also undergone training on proper timbering, and handling of explosives under close supervision of company personnel, as part of ensuring safety operations while in the mine site.
Following the project launch in April and an adjustment period with the usual birthing pains, the pocket miners were able to develop standard vertical and horizontal underground openings, produce 270 tons of good grade ore for a period of one month, and were paid a total of P522, 000 for their services.
ISRI has since received additional applications from small-scale miners associations in the municipality for them to join the ‘big brother, small brother’ program after hearing from this first batch of beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, Mayor Victorio T. Palangdan had urged the company to accommodate more ‘small brothers’ to help in providing them with livelihood.
The company assured it will make sure that the implementation of the program will continue to succeed so that ISRI can to help and accommodate more ‘small brothers’ to work under its supervision.
Earlier, ISRI presented to the municipal and barangay officials the details of the ‘big brother, small brother’ program which the company wants to implement within its tenement to help pocket miners recover from the impact of the suspension of pocket mining activities and the ongoing pandemic, as well as to provide safe working environment and sustainable income for the small brothers.
The company also aims to roll out the aforesaid program in Mankayan town, one of the mineral-rich municipalities in the province. The big brother-small brother program in Mankayan will be integrated in the mine plan of Suyoc Mine, a legacy mine ISRI is geared to bring to operation soon. By HENT