Mayor: Itogon mining, tourism can co-exist-A A +A
Friday, January 11, 2013
ITOGON Mayor Oscar Camantiles foresees a marriage between mining and tourism in his town.
Camantiles championed the Benguet Corporation example, which has mined the area for decades and crafted the unique Balatoc underground mine tour, a first in the country.
“It can be done,” he said.
The mine tour is one of the most successful tourism come-ons of the municipality and utilizes the abandoned areas of the mining company, in a bid to preserve employment, culture and to familiarize the public to life inside the mines.
It has so far culled thousands to take the famed tour starting with actual wearing of miner’s uniforms then entering the mine tunnels for a tour.
“Tourism and mining can co exist,” Camantiles said.
He said the symbiotic relationship between mining operations and tourism can be achieved.
Camantiles said plans of Philex Mining Corporation to convert the damaged tailings pond 3 into a tourism site will complete the concept of a holistic mine tourism program.
Mike Toledo, Philex spokesperson, said the plan to convert it into a tourism site is part of long term goals for the company.
Toledo said there are short term and long term plans of the company for tourism development in the town congruent with the ongoing rehabilitation of the Balog creek.
Toledo said tourism potentials of the Philex area is being closely studied by experts hired by the company to craft the comprehensive rehabilitation plan of tailings pond 3 and the feasibility studies for the new tailings pond 4.
The Balatoc Mines Tour is the first show mine on the Philippines and thus, said to be one of the most unique attractions.
The mine was operated by the Benguet Corporation for eight decades. Now it is closed except for some minor activities by some locals who still mine in a most indigenous way.
The mine site once had nine main levels and nine sublevels. The entrance of the mine is at 600 meters above sea level. The lowest level is at 425m, 1,025m below the entrance.
Access to the lower levels was provided by a mine-shaft.
Mine visitors are equipped with Wellingtons and a hard hat, and then enter the mine on a mine train. Inside ex-miners show the visitors how tunnels are dug and reinforced, and there is a simulated explosion.
The tour also explains the mucking and the transport of gold bearing ore to the surface.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 11, 2013.